That's the title of my new novel. Published in June 2007 by Mainstay Press, it's set in 1975. America has lost its war in Vietnam and Cambodia. Racially-tinged riots are tearing the city of Boston apart. The The politics and counterculture of the 1960s is disintegrating into nothing more than sex, drugs and rock and roll. The Boston Red Sox are on one of their improbable runs toward a postseason appearance. In a suburban town in Maryland, a young couple is murdered and another young man is accused. The couple are white and the accused is black. It is up to his friends and family to prove he is innocent. This is a story of suburban ennui, race, murder and injustice. Religion and politics, liberal lawyers and racist cops. Short Order Frame Upis a piece of crime fiction that exposes the wound that is US racism. Two cultures existing side by side and across generations—a river very few dare to cross. His characters work and live with and next to each other, often unaware of the other's real life. When the murder occurs, however, those people that care about the man charged must cross that river and meet somewhere in between in order to free him from (what is to them) an obvious miscarriage of justice.
The case against the young man has many flaws, but the racism of the cops and the system makes it easy for them to ignore those flaws. It's only when a radical political group and a minister get involved that the media begins to wonder if the charges are valid. All the while, the friends of the accused and the dead couple are searching their own selves and motivations; and the cops are trying to extract a confession from they man they locked up.
Short Order Frame Up is a crime novel where the crimes are committed not only by those on the other side of the law. Rivetingly told and well-placed in its time, Jacobs' novel is a commentary on America's legacy of racism and a story of suburban malaise gone horribly awry that you won't want to put down until you're done with it.
"Ron Jacobs has created a working-class brew of language and music, a quasi-bitter, semi-sweet world of weed and sport, of love and violence, of not-so-innocent innocence up against the walls of racism and power. A compelling story, alas, and an underlying reality of life in America." -Marc Estrin, author of Insect Dreams: The Half-Life of Gregor Samsa; Golem Song
"With Short Order, Ron Jacobs delivers something I haven't come across since the works of James Baldwin: a great anti-racist novel. Powerful and political without being preachy. Poignant without being treacly. It's stunning." - Dave Zirin, author Welcome to the Terrordome; What's My Name Fool?