Ray Carney Series Guide and Book Review

Author Colson Whitehead has committed to writing a three-book series around protagonist Ray Carney in his Ray Carney series. We will be discussing all the books in the series, our reviews of the books, as well as what we think of this series. Keep reading to find out if this book series is for you!

Ray Carney Series Guide

Harlem Shuffle

Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead book review summary
Harlem Shuffle book review

It is 1959 and Raymond Carney is expecting a second child with his wife Elizabeth. They reside in Harlem where Carney owns a furniture shop on 125th Street. Carney wants to provide for his family and live mostly a clean life (he sells stolen electronics) but he is pulled into the criminal world by his cousin.

Eddie is like a brother to Carney but he doesn’t know how to avoid trouble. He makes a living by any means necessary and approaches Carney for his latest job. Does Carney want to get involved in something illegal that might jeopardize his store and put his family in danger? Or does he do one last job with Eddie so he can move his family to a better apartment?

You can read the full book review here!

Crook Manifesto

Crook Manifesto novel New York City Crime
Crook Manifesto book review

In 1971, Ray Carney wants to get some Jackson 5 tickets for his daughter but he can’t find any throughout the normal means. That leads to Carney turning to some shady connections in order to secure the tickets. But little does Carney know that he has become a part of something that makes him a target of various criminals as a result.

In 1973, Carney is approached by an old friend who wants to shoot a scene of his Blaxploitation movie in his store in Harlem. But things end up going south as the lead actress goes missing. Pepper, Carney’s friend, is tasked with finding her as he navigates the underworld of New York City.

You can read the full book review here!

Ray Carney Book Three

As of right now, there is little information about the third book in the Ray Carney series. I was lucky enough to go to an event that hosted Colson Whitehead and he read an excerpt from the third book in the series.

In it, Ray Carney ends up landing an interview for a furniture magazine that he has been dreaming about for decades. He takes his wife to dinner to celebrate. And that was about it. Whitehead said that he plans on focusing on the 1980’s for this novel, continuing the theme he has created for each book.

The novel is going to be about relatives of Ray visiting him and making his life complicated once again. But as to what that entails, that I do not know. Expect the third novel to take a little longer than the second one. Whitehead said that he wrote Crook Manifesto right after finishing Harlem Shuffle since he was stuck at home during lockdown. That isn’t the case this time around and he is a bit busier.


That is all for the Ray Carney series guide and book review. Luckily, I was able to hear from Whitehead about his third and final book in the series. I hope that holds fans of the series until the novel is released. And for readers that haven’t read the books yet, you are in for a treat!

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook

Leave a Reply