Deacon King Kong aka Sportcoat is an alcoholic widower in his early 70’s. He and a number of other characters with colorful nicknames live in The Cause Houses, a housing project in Brooklyn. One day in 1969, Sportcoat shoots Deems, a young drug dealer who had a promising future in professional baseball. Although there were a number of witnesses, Sportcoat remains free. While he eludes the police and the drug dealers who are after him, we meet his friends, enemies, church members as well as his deceased wife Hettie.
I thoroughly enjoyed Deacon King Kong! Yes, it has a lot of characters with funny names, and yes, there is more than one story line, but James McBride’s use of language and his amusing and heart-warming characters make the work totally worthwhile.