Stephen Carter is a black academic who also writes novels. As I recall I rather liked his first, "The Emperor of Ocean Park", which I read several years ago. I recently read his latest, "Jericho's Fall", which I thought was ok. This inspired me to locate and read his other two novels, "New England White" and "Palace Council". Unfortunately I found both to be seriously flawed. The books reminded me a bit of "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown . Both authors have some writing talent in the sense of getting you to keep turning the pages but have problems with the bigger picture. They also have conspiratorial world views and weird obsessions which can make it hard to maintain suspension of disbelief. And they both seem prolix. As a result I found myself liking the books less and less as I read through them. I like novels to make sense when considered as a whole and I don't think these books are very satisfactory in that respect. So in my opinion these books can be safely skipped.