Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.
Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.
Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.
Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.
I’m not sure what category this fits into, it’s a social commentary, a police procedural, and a domestic drama. But it doesn’t matter really, what does matter is that it’s rather brilliant.
Ryan is a cop, he’s only been in the job a year and he’s partnered with Greg a long standing, experience cop. Oh and he’s abhorrently racist.
One day, Greg decides to pull over a young black guy, just because he wants to. Tyrell is unarmed, but Greg causes an altercation and as a result, Ryan shoots and kills Tyrell. Together they create a story, that Tyrell assaulted Greg, that Ryan believed he had managed to get Greg’s gun and so was left with no choice but to shoot.
Jade is Tyrell’s sister, and cannot believe he would ever have hit a cop. She has her own issues with self harm.
Kelly, is Jade and Tyrell’s estranged dad, he left when they were young and he’s now back and wants to help.
The story is told from Ryan, Kelly and Jade’s perspectives, it tells of their emotions and thoughts and how they can come to terms with this killing….or not!
Ryan is plagued with guilt, has panic attacks and wants to do the right thing, but he’s scared.
Jade is a mess, she wants the truth.
Kelly, he’s a homeless, ex gang member who’s now straight, but he’s angry.
This is a very topical tale of young black men being shot by police in America arbitrarily. I cannot imagine the intense emotions and fear this must cause. It highlights too, the #BlackLivesMatter movement and how high emotions run as people see the injustices happening in everyday life.
Here in the UK our cops do not routinely carry guns, so while it would be incredibly naive of me to say racism does not exist in the UK police, they do not kill young men on the streets, a daily occurrence in the US it seems. Just today, there has been a police chase, with 4 young people…I can’t say why, but armed police were there, however, not one of these young people were hurt…..It’s hard to imagine a similar situation in the US ending the same way and this is tragic and scary and so, so wrong.
Hands Up is a powerful and gripping tale, full of emotions, great realistic characters and a story with heartbreak, love and a twist or two. I can thoroughly recommend it.
Thank you to Stephen Clark for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.
You can can buy a copy here