A Local Story That Reveals More Than Meets the Eye; A True Crime Book Talk
Tattered Cover welcomes journalist Julian Rubinstein on Tuesday May 11th at 6:30pm MT to discuss his new book, The Holly. He will be in conversation with actor Donnie L. Betts, and activist Terrance Roberts.
On the last Friday evening of the summer of 2013, five shots rang out in the parking lot of a new Boys & Girls Club in a part of northeast Denver known as the Holly. Long a destination for African American families fleeing the Jim Crow South, the Holly had become an “invisible city” within a historically white metropolis. While shootings weren’t uncommon, the identity of the shooter that night came as a shock. Terrance Roberts was a revered activist. His attempts to bring peace to his community had won the accolades of both his neighbors and the state’s most important power brokers. Why had he just fired a gun?
In The Holly, the award-winning journalist Julian Rubinstein, who grew up in Denver, reconstructs the events leading up to the fateful confrontation that left a local gang member paralyzed and Terrance Roberts on trial, facing a life in prison. Much more than the story of a shooting, The Holly is a multigenerational crime story that explores the porous boundaries between a city’s elites and its most disadvantaged citizens, as well as the fraught interactions of police, confidential informants, activists, gang members, and ex-gang members trying—or not—to put their pasts behind them. It shows how well-intentioned urban renewal may hasten gentrification, and what happens when overzealous policing collides with gang members who conceive of themselves as defenders, however imperfect, of a neighborhood.
In the era of Black Lives Matter and urgent debates about the future of policing, Rubinstein offers a nuanced and humane illumination of what’s at stake.
Julian Rubinstein is a journalist and the author of Ballad of the Whiskey Robber, which was a finalist for the Edgar Allan Poe Best Fact Crime award. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and The New York Times Magazine, as well as in Best American Crime Writing. He lives in Denver.
Registration includes access to this live stream event the night of the event, before it is posted on Tattered Cover's YouTube Channel, two days after.
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