As a serving police officer, Los Angeles Times bestselling author Neal Griffin saw how family ties, loyalty to friends, and their own ambitions could lead young men to make choices that got them hurt, killed, or imprisoned.
He explores this complex web of relationships and pressures in The Burden of Truth. In a small city in southern California, 18 year-old Omar Ortega is about to graduate high school.
For years, he's danced on the fringes of gang life, trying desperately to stay out of the cross-hairs.
Once Omar joins the Army, his salary, plus his meager savings, will get his mother and siblings out of the barrio, where they've lived since his father was deported.
One night, everything changes. Newly released from prison, Chunks, the gang's shot-caller, has plans for Omar.
That boy, Chunks thinks, needs to be jumped in. By dawn, Omar will be labeled a cop-killer. Law-and-order advocates and community organizers will battle over Omar's fate in the court of public opinion while the criminal justice system grips him in its teeth.
One night can destroy a man and all who depend on him.
That he's innocent does not matter.