Paul Levi is an aging white lawyer and Malik Pederson is a young Black man accused of murder. When their worlds collide, they must find a way forward in a legal system that seems designed to convict both the guilty and the innocent if they were born with the wrong skin color.
As the two men come together, Paul searches for answers to what happened to the city that he loved and abandoned after a devastating race riot. Malik has his own secrets that he is unwilling to share with his court-appointed attorney, and his family knows Paul from when he defended a cop accused of murdering three innocent Black teenagers in a seedy Detroit hotel during the riot. A socially conscious masterpiece of fiction, "Born by the River" is a must-read critique of the criminal justice system in America.