The Multicultiboho Sideshow
Ichabod “Icky” Word, an ambitious young African-American writer and the protagonist of Alexs Pate’s (Losing Absalom) inventive tale of crime, art, politics and black rage, needs to be heard. To gain his brief moment in the limelight, Word lures Bill Bloom, a white lieutenant with the Minneapolis Police Department, to his apartment and immediately takes him captive.
Strapping the fat, battle-weary, middle-aged detective in a chair with duct tape, Word reveals the purpose of his bizarre hostage scheme, beginning a rambling, fragmented story about the powerful cultural and racial forces that have brought him to this pass.Complicating matters is the police barricade of the apartment, not to mention the garbage bag-wrapped presence of the corpse of Dewitt McMichaels, a man who was once an influential cultural maven with the power to make and break careers in the multicultural art world. Though the setup seems contrived at first, Pate effectively explores each man’s personal history and emotional state, shifting adroitly from voice to voice and suffusing the dialogue with humor and irony. Veteran police officer Bloom takes a truthful measure of his faltering marriage, dead-end job and lackluster life. Meanwhile, Word describes his dealings with the circle of art-world friends he calls his “multicultiboho tribe,” all of whom may or may not be implicated in McMichaels’s murder. With time running out and nervous police snipers on nearby rooftops, the mystery of the murder is slowly unraveled and Word and Bloom ultimately gain a realistic understanding of each other that civil rights laws could never mandate. — Publishers Weekly