More than a handful of Cloud librarians have commented on the difficulty of locating new urban fiction, aka street lit. As of last summer, a new trusted source is Brooklyn, NY, independent press Akashic Books (“reverse gentrification of the literary world”).

Its Infamous Books imprint boasts K’wan, who is arguably the king of his subcategory, with seminal best sellers like Gangsta, Hoodlum, and Hood Rat to his credit. No slouch either on its list is JaQuavis Coleman, who made his name as an 18 year old with the Dopeman Trilogy, a New York Times best seller. Coleman was also named one of the Top 100 most influential African Americans in the country by Ebony magazine.

As Akashic’s publisher Johnny Temple rightly pointed out in the New York Times last summer, these authors are readalikes for Walter Mosley and the late Chester Himes. Crime fiction, in other words. K’wan’s Black Lotus and Coleman’s The White House are in Cloud now.

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