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Driving the King

Told through the experiences of the great Nat King Cole and his driver, Nat Weary, DRIVING THE KING is a daring and brilliant new novel that explores race and class in 1950s America. The novel opens in 1945 as Nat King Cole is about to perform a rare concert in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. The singer meets up with his childhood friend Nat Weary and his girlfriend Mattie. Cole and Weary are secretly planning Weary’s proposal to Mattie that night, but as Cole steps up to the microphone, a white man disguised as an usher rushes the stage with a lead pipe and attacks the singer. Nat Weary leaps from the “colored” balcony seats and defends the singer, violently beating back the attacker. Weary is, arrested, and sentenced to ten years in jail without parole. Six months before his release from prison in 1955, Weary’s brother visits the prisoner with a message from Cole.

 

Will Weary agree to be Nat King Cole’s driver in Los Angeles, to act as a bodyguard for the singer in his new home? DRIVING THE KING is the story of Nat Weary, a World War II veteran and taxi driver from Montgomery, who saved the life of a childhood friend and is repaid with the chance to start a new life in Los Angeles. But it’s also the story of Nat King Cole, who, despite his undeniable talent and fame, faces the deep-rooted racism of 1950s America. When Weary arrives in LA, it’s a far cry from Jim Crow South, but it’s a place not wholly hospitable to a group of black men. A brilliant and daring novel, Ravi Howard’s DRIVING THE KING is a powerful look at race and class. Howard masterfully captures an era in American history that is both dark and shameful and full of promise.

Like Trees, Walking

Based on the true story of a modern-day lynching in America, Ravi Howard's widely acclaimed debut novel exposes one of the most tragic chapters in the history of the American South.On the morning of March 21, 1981, in Mobile, Alabama, nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was found dead, his body badly beaten and hanging from a tree on Herndon Avenue. Brothers Paul and Roy Deacon of the Deacon Memorial Funeral Home are called upon to bury their close friend and classmate, and the experience will leave them forever changed. Along with other residents of their hometown, the Deacon brothers must struggle to understand the circumstances surrounding Donald's murder—the city's first lynching in more than sixty years and a gruesome reminder of racial inequalities in the New South.

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© 2020 by Ravi Howard.  Author Photos by Beri Irving.

ravi@ravihowardauthor.com

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