There are a lot of things you can say about Black and White by Ben Burgess Jr. A lot of good things actually. But the thing that kept popping into my mind as I read it is that this novel is so timely. The Obama era has just finished and the Trump era is just beginning. As far as race relations and racial politics go, America seems to be a very angry and confused place. I don’t go out of my way to read novels like Black and White. They can be a little depressing if they are not told just right. Everybody has a different idea about what “just right” is, but for me, Ben Burgess gets it exactly right in Black and White. It is a controversial and emotional subject, but it is a great novel. Good writing can make the controversial exciting and even appealing. Ben Burgess isn't a good writer. He’s a great one.
Black and White takes two racially charged legal cases that would be problematic for any attorney and gives them to a team that consists of one black lawyer and a white one. They have very different backgrounds. They have very different lives, even though they work for the same firm. This entire novel is a study in the contrast between white lives in America and black lives in America. Ben Burgess writes about this difference, not by telling us but by showing us. Black and White is about as realistic as writing can get. It takes a master to get America just right in a story like this and Ben Burgess does a masterful job of dissecting life from various social, economic, and legal perspectives.