I picked The Burning up at the public library. All I know about the author is what is on the dust jacket: he’s a social worker in Los Angeles.
I was sucked in by the storyline: A retired black tightrope walker gets a little tight and tries to resume his career on the wire. A black crowd gathers, the white cops come, try to force him to come down, and he falls to his death. A race riot ensues, and the novel follows these characters through the subsequent events.
Sounds like it could be a promising novel, but it doesn’t come through. The plot just slows down and falls apart. No climatic conclusion. The characters are contrived and a little flat. Disappointing. Grade: F