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Restoration Heights


Restoration Heights

RESTORATION HEIGHTS seeks to tackle the issue of gentrification in New York City, specifically the effects on the historically black Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Wil Medearis’ debut novel introduces readers to Reddick, a white art hanger who has stopped pursuing his career as an artist and cannot seem to decide what he wants to do with his life. He plays a lot of basketball, where he frequently ruminates on his background and his place in society. He grew up in a heavily African American area, and has struggled his entire life with his identity and where he fits in. Late one night, Reddick meets a blonde woman outside his apartment who is inebriated and unsteady. She is admitted into his building through the back door by an unseen individual, and Reddick inexplicably becomes obsessed with their encounter (even before he learns she is missing).

"RESTORATION HEIGHTS fluctuates between a character-driven tale and a plot-driven mystery, yet never settles comfortably into either camp."

The following day, Reddick tells his co-workers about the incident, and as the hours pass by, he cannot seem to move past it. His fellow art hangers are working at the home of the Sewards, a rich and influential family in Manhattan society. Coincidentally, Reddick learns that Hannah, the blonde fiancée of the Sewards’ son Buckley, has gone missing. Inserting himself into this family drama, Reddick explains his encounter with the mysterious female and is immediately suspected of something untoward. Upon leaving the Sewards’ home frustrated and embarrassed, Reddick is approached by the employee of a neighboring family, the Lelands, and is asked to pursue an investigation into Hannah’s disappearance.

Reddick spends most of the book breaking into buildings, following random people, debating his place in society, and alienating his friends over his obsession with Hannah’s whereabouts. Even after the Lelands ask him to stop, and there is no evidence that Hannah has disappeared, Reddick refuses to abandon his search. Although he is eventually successful in solving the mystery, the resolution is convoluted and unsatisfying.

While the issues raised here are both thought-provoking and relevant, the characters are unable to bear the weight of these issues, and the reader is left with more questions than answers. Why is Reddick so obsessed with Hannah? Why did he not question the Lelands’ interest in her disappearance? Will he ever decide to work again? RESTORATION HEIGHTS fluctuates between a character-driven tale and a plot-driven mystery, yet never settles comfortably into either camp.

Reviewed by Cindy Burnett on February 1, 2019

Restoration Heights
by Wil Medearis

  • Publication Date: January 22, 2019
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Hanover Square Press
  • ISBN-10: 1335218726
  • ISBN-13: 9781335218728