by Leila Mottley

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Literary Fiction Debut Books of the Month Debuts

LoveReading Expert Review of Nightcrawling

Told in searingly beautiful style, this exceptional debut blazes with truths about social, sexual and racial injustices through the agonising experiences of a Black American teenager.

Sparked by a real-life police abuse scandal in Oakland, California, Leila Mottley’s intensely affecting Nightcrawling debut, written when she was just seventeen, burns with brutal truths and a raw beauty that lays bare an astounding spirit of love and survival.

Though not quite 18, Kiara has long had to play an adult role in life. Her former Black Panther father is dead, as is her little sister. Her mama is in a halfway house “prison without the bars”, while her older brother clings to a dream of making it in rap music. So, it’s fallen to Kiara to take responsibility for paying rent and putting food on the table. What’s more, she also cares for Trevor, a ten-year-old child whose mother keeps going AWOL. Trapped in poverty, and unable to get a job, Kiara is forced to nightcrawl. “It’s just a body,” she tells herself.

After being picked up by a couple of cops, Kiara is forced to have sex with them and their colleagues. Though she had no choice, she wishes she’d never given them her number - “they only want me to show themselves they can have me…These are the men who load their guns and point them with a grin, and find a girl in an alley and decide she is theirs”. Later, when one of the cops is found dead, Kiara finds herself at the heart of an investigation into police corruption and sexual exploitation, but being named as a key witness puts everything and everyone she knows into danger.

As the case exposes the adultification of Black girls and the corrupt core of an unjust system, Kiara keeps on caring for Trevor, keeps on trying to help her brother, keeps on living and loving.

Joanne Owen

Nightcrawling Synopsis

A searing debut novel inspired by a true story from the streets of Oakland, California, announcing the arrival of a blazing, young talent.

When there is no choice, all you have left to do is walk. Kiara Johnson does not know what it is to live as a normal seventeen-year-old. With her mother in a rehab facility and an older brother who devotes his time and money to a recording studio, she fends for herself - and for nine-year-old Trevor, whose own mother is prone to disappearing for days at a time. As the landlord of their apartment block threatens to raise their rent, Kiara finds herself walking the streets after dark, determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her. Then one night Kiara is picked up by Officers 601 and 190, and the gruesome deal she is offered in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm. If she agrees to testify in a grand jury trial, she could help expose the sickening corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price - one that could leave her family vulnerable to their retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves. Nightcrawling is an unforgettable novel about young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world, told with a humanity that is at once agonising and utterly mesmerising.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781526634566
Publication date: 7th June 2022
Author: Leila Mottley
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 288 pages
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
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Win a Signed Copy of Should I Tell You? by Jill Mansell

Closing date: 10/07/2022

"Escape to a joyful corner of Cornwall with this heartening novel that overflows with love, friendship and a healthy smattering of sunshine." Lindsay Quayle, Expert Reviewer To celebrate the release of Should I Tell You by Jill Mansell, we are working with Headline to give away 3 signed copies of the paperback. This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The draw closes on 10 July 2022. Please ensure that the details you use to enter the competition will be correct at the time the competition ends. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

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What To Read After Nightcrawling

In the Country of Men
Would I Lie to You?
Bonjour Tristesse
The Monster's Wife

Leila Mottley Press Reviews

A truly beautiful and powerful book -- Ruth Ozeki, author of THE BOOK OF FORM AND EMPTINESS

'Leila Mottley's writing erupts and flows like lava . . . Nightcrawling bursts at the seams of every page and swallows you whole' TOMMY ORANGE, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize


Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781526634566
Publication date: 07/06/2022
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781526634559
Publication date: 07/06/2022
Format: Paperback

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