Author: Stephen Kearse
Title: In the Heat of the Light
Publisher: Kindred Books
Plot: The book documents the rise and fall of an Atlanta graffiti crew. Set during a brutally hot Atlanta summer, the novel chronicles how each member of the crew reacts to the aftermath of their biggest tag, an audacious defacement of Georgia’s Stone Mountain. As the crew gradually unravels, two FBI agents attempt to untangle the knot of rage and confusion that led to the tag, surveying Atlanta’s underbelly in the process and becoming entangled themselves.
This novel explores the topography of Atlanta in vivid detail, dwelling in the city’s lesser-known corridors and assembling the city’s various ghosts — the Civil War, Jim Crow, the 1996 Olympics, the slum clearance of the 50s, and the Civil Rights Movement — alongside the city’s modern currents — gentrification, Black Lives Matter, traffic, and trap music. Five Atlanta teenagers choose between property and the commons when neither is immediately available to them, a heightened dilemma in this age of mass surveillance and income inequality.