Synopses & Reviews
WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE
A Best Book of the Year
Wall Street Journal / Chicago Tribune / Buzzfeed / South Florida Sun-Sentinel / Book Riot / LitHub / BOLO Books
A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in Los Angeles, following two families — one Korean-American, one African-American — grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime.
In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it's been since the unrest of the early 1990s. But Grace Park and Shawn Matthews have their own problems. Grace is sheltered and largely oblivious, living in the Valley with her Korean-immigrant parents, working long hours at the family pharmacy. She's distraught that her sister hasn't spoken to their mother in two years, for reasons beyond Grace's understanding. Shawn has already had enough of politics and protest after an act of violence shattered his family years ago. He just wants to be left alone to enjoy his quiet life in Palmdale.
But when another shocking crime hits LA, both the Park and Matthews families are forced to face down their history while navigating the tumult of a city on the brink of more violence.
"A gripping, thoughtful portrayal of family loyalty, hard-won redemption, and the destructive force of racial injustice. Cha, author of the Juniper Song PI series, offers a strong contender for the summer’s blockbuster read." Booklist (Starred Review)
"Based on a true case, Cha’s ambitious tale of race, identity, and murder delivers on the promise of her Juniper Song mysteries (Dead Soon Enough, etc.)…This timely, morally complex story could well be Cha’s breakout novel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"A real-life racial incident is transfigured into a riveting thriller about two families’ heartbreaking struggles to confront and transcend rage and loss…Cha [blends] a shrewd knowledge of cutting-edge media and its disruptive impact with a warm, astute sensitivity toward characters of diverse cultures weighed down by converging traumas. Cha’s storytelling shows how fiction can delicately extract deeper revelations from daily headlines." Kirkus (Starred Review)
"A propulsive, lacerating novel about two families caught in the turmoil of a city and nation in crisis, and the tensions that drive history and fate, pit freedom against love, and lace our own best impulses to our worst. Fearless, insightful, and alight with a brutal compassion, Your House Will Pay is a devastating exploration of grief, shame, and deeply buried truths, and the hope that endures when all else seems lost." Catherine Chung
"Steph Cha’s Your House Will Pay has got it all. This suspense-filled page-turner about murder, repentance, and forgiveness draws from the fraught history of Los Angeles, where America’s immigrant dream bleeds into America’s racist nightmare. The novel would have been relevant thirty years ago. It will likely be relevant thirty years in the future." Viet Thanh Nguyen
"Your House Will Pay never downplays the impacts of racism and trauma, but Cha’s nuanced portrait of the two families in crisis sparks hope for the possibility of connection and mutual understanding, if not forgiveness." Maris Kreizman for Pacific Standard
"With Your House Will Pay, Steph Cha has taken a dark moment in Los Angeles’s violent history and cracked it wide open, creating a prism of understanding — of the pull of generational violence and its enduring devastation, but also of the power of human grace against all odds. It’s a touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision that tore a hole through an entire city." Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird
About the Author
Steph Cha is the author of Your House Will Pay, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the California Book Award, and the Juniper Song crime trilogy. She’s a critic whose work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Review of Books, where she served as noir editor, and is the current series editor of the Best American Mystery & Suspense anthology. A native of the San Fernando Valley, she lives in Los Angeles with her family.