I’ve just finished reading The Koontown Killing Kaper by Bill Campbell.
This book is full of tightly-packed allegory. It is not for the easily offended, and I would say those who don’t know black history will miss the significance of many names and events.
Bill Campbell has managed to write the most anti-commercial novel I have ever read. Even the cover is a golliwog’s head with a bleeding bullet hole between the eyes. Sorry, but I could not take it to the coffeeshop because it draws too much attention.
From Marion Sims to the murder of Malcolm X, Cambell manages to take us on a ride through the hijacking of ‘black’ culture from the positive role models such as Poitier, King and Cosby all the way to the deification of the gangster, the drug entrepreneur and the rapper.
The book is quite a feat as it tags this on the back of a rather conventional murder plot, complete with ex-supermodel, ex-homicide cop, private detective Jon Vee Noir. Someone is killing rappers in the eponymous Koontown. There are elements of the thriller and supernatural events and even time-travel, but I would not call this a paranormal detective story. It’s straight-up social commentary and there is no way it could have found a home with a mainstream publisher.
If I had to nit-pick I’d say the last quarter of the book brings the introduction of too many new characters in the interest of resolving the plot. That said the plot is a minor part of enjoying this book. If you possess a modicum of cultural awareness and a sense of humour this is the book for you.