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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Let’s begin this review of Schism by Clabe Polk with what it isn’t: conventional. Because Schism involves people raised in the poorer black areas of the US, Polk has decided to add to the book’s authenticity by using dialogue between black gang members in a way that completely captures their dialects. So right from the onset, readers need to be patient as they follow this dialogue. But once they get the hang of it, it’s easy to follow and one sees the sense of dialogue written like this.
So now that is out of the way, what of the story? Well, it’s certainly one that young teens who think that joining a gang is a cool idea should read. By the time they do, they might want to think twice, as does Quinton, the young protagonist at the center of the plot of Schism. When “Mad Dog”, the leader of The Raven Claws, decides that Quinton is the cause of all his troubles, he goes from wanting to recruit him into the gang to wanting to kill him. Along the way, Quinton’s older brother, Jimmy, lands in the hospital more than once and Mad Dog’s cronies meet their maker earlier than planned.
For Quinton, his brother and his struggling and hard-working mom, Kat, it’s fortunate they have someone who believes in them in Detective Eiser. It’s just as well when crooked Feds are as bad or worse than Mad Dog and his gang. While there’s a certain predictability to the plot and one wonders if cops in real life are as on top of the gangs as Eiser and his team are, Schism is still an engrossing read. Better yet, it’s peppered with some good, down home values and characters who honestly care about teens, even when the teens, like Quinton, think there’s no one there for them. An enjoyable read. Well done, Clabe Polk.