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Gutter: A Novel

Gutter: A Novel

4.5 34
by K'wan

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The explosive sequel to GANGSTA has finally arrived!

Blood answers for blood on the streets of Harlem. It's been months since Lou-loc was brutally murdered on his way to freedom and the pain is still fresh. Gutter, Lou-loc's best friend, finds himself on a path to self destruction, vowing to eradicate the entire Blood faction in New York City in


The explosive sequel to GANGSTA has finally arrived!

Blood answers for blood on the streets of Harlem. It's been months since Lou-loc was brutally murdered on his way to freedom and the pain is still fresh. Gutter, Lou-loc's best friend, finds himself on a path to self destruction, vowing to eradicate the entire Blood faction in New York City in the name of his fallen comrade. Sharell urges him to abandon the suicide mission, but his oath won't allow it. Not even for the child they are expecting. But as Gutter slips further into madness, a shocking revelation brings Satin out. In the middle of all this is a man named Major Blood. He has been flown in from Cali with two very simple instructions. Shut down Harlem Crip, and execute El Diablo's murderer. Walk back into the mouth of madness in the not-to-missed sequel to GANGSTA.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In the sequel to Gangsta, K'wan offers a gritty and explosive cautionary tale. Kenyatta Soladine, aka Gutter, is an Algerian immigrant and head of the Harlem Crips, recently recovered from a gunshot-induced coma to learn that his best friend has been murdered by the rival Bloods. Overcome with guilt and rage, Gutter and his gang seek revenge by killing not just those responsible, but every member of the Bloods in town, despite the protests of Gutter's wife, Sharell, his business associates and his advisers. In response, the Bloods import some serious help from Los Angeles: Major Blood, a deranged and murderous sociopath with an age-old vendetta against the Soladine family. Plenty of mayhem follows, taking in gangsters, their families and innocent bystanders on both coasts. Hard-to-ignore structural problems and predictable, clichéd plot developments will frustrate, and tacked-on prologue and epilogue will confuse. K'wan does have his eyes and ears to the street, believably detailing his characters' dialogue and reactions, but goes little further. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
From the Publisher

“The big draw draw here is the electric prose, which is imbued with profane, comic lyricism."--Publishers Weekly on HOOD RAT

"One of hip-hop fiction's hottest authors. . .fans will appreciate many of the qualities that make K'wan a writer to check for: gritty settings, memorable dialogue and authentic action." --KING magazine on Street Dreams

“This gangsta romp is indisputably a page-turner.” ---Library Journal on Eve

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St. Martin's Press
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Read an Excerpt


By K'wan Foye

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2008 K'wan Foye
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-3193-9


LENOX AVENUE was especially crowded that night. Summertime was in full swing, so the streets were alive with activity. A dozen or so young men crowded the park, either playing ball or waiting for next on the double courts. It was dark out, but children still ran in and out of the park playing tag or climbing the monkey bars. Even in light of the past few months, Harlem had gained back its luster.

Lloyd sat on the stoop, kicking it with several of the homeys and drinking a forty ounce. The Cincinnati Reds fitted that crowned his dome was tilted slightly to the right. The lesser soldiers sat around listening to him tell war stories. Some were factual, but most were fabrications of the truth.

"Word to mine, son, these niggaz is mad fake," Lloyd declared, swigging from the forty bottle. "Muthafuckas be acting like our click ain't the tightest out here, fuck Harlem!"

Lloyd fashioned himself as somewhat of a big man on the streets. Early on in his youth he made a name for himself by being a general knucklehead. He had been arrested several times, but had never done more than a few months in jail. He made his climb from a low-level nobody to a blip on the radar. Lloyd was eighteen and down with one of the largest gangs in the country, the Bloods.

"Yeah, fuck them niggaz," a young man wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey added, trying to sound surer of himself than he really was. "But yo ..." He hesitated for a minute. "Man, I heard they had this shit sewed up not so long ago."

"That's bullshit. They tried to get it popping, but we stomped them muthafuckas!" Lloyd declared. The young men stood around debating history of the B&C rivalry in New York and watching the world go by. Hearing their own voices, coupled with the sights and sounds of Harlem made them totally oblivious to what was about to go down.

Two mountain bikes were coasting along the shadows of the street in front of the building. The riders were dressed in oversized white T-shirts that laid flat across their laps, but if you looked closely you could see the slight awkward lumps. Hook and Noodles were the latest lost souls who had found something of worth in the "movement" as they liked to call it. They had murder on their minds and big things on their persons.

A kid by the name of Benny, who happened to have the misfortune of being with Lloyd, was the first to notice the duo. "Who them niggaz?"

When Lloyd turned around the beer in his mouth quickly dried into a paste as the cyclists drew matching .40 calibers. Noodles's face twisted into a mask of pure hatred as he skidded to a stop and jerked the trigger.

"Harlem muthafucka!"

The whole avenue seemed to stop moving as the sound of the .40 cut through the night air. Benny clutched at his neck as a large chunk of it and his collarbone came loose. Blood sprayed over his comrades and a girl who was coming out of the building. The girl opened her mouth to scream, but another blast from the .40 sent her flying back through the door she had just exited.

The kid in the basketball jersey flipped backward as Hook gave him two to the chest. Lloyd thought about fleeing until he found himself staring down the barrel of two high-powered handguns.

"Chill!" Lloyd pleaded, crouching in the corner.

"Fuck that chill shit, nigga, you know what it is!" Hook hissed.

There was a coldness in his eyes that told Lloyd that he was going to die no matter what he did or said. He tried to bolt, but Noodles tripped him into a pile of garbage. Hook yanked Lloyd roughly to his feet and shoved the barrel of the .40 under Lloyd's chin.

"The big homey wanted you to have this," Hook said before pulling the trigger. Lloyd's body jerked once and his brains shot up through the top of his head. Hook cursed and wiped the blood and chunks from his face with the bandanna he had wrapped around his wrist.

"Damn, nigga, you almost got that shit on my whites!" Noodles scolded his partner for the mess he had made with Lloyd.

"Nigga, stop crying. The O.G. says the bodies keep dropping until he says otherwise," Hook shot back.

Noodles looked at the several dead bodies and shook his head. "All this over one dead nigga?"

"He wasn't just some nigga, he was a legend and you better not let the big homey hear you talking that crazy shit," Hook scolded. "Speaking of crazy shit though, why'd you pop the bitch?" He nodded toward the young girl sprawled on the steps.

Noodles just shrugged. "Casualty of war, my nigga. Let's get the fuck outta here."

KENYATTA KNELT on his balcony looking out at the sunrise. He touched his head to the ground, while he went into his third repetition of the prayer. His long braids swept gently across his naked back. Fallen Soldier was tattooed across his shoulders, while a portrait of his best friend stretched down his spine. After completing the prayer ritual, Gutter rose to his feet.

Gutter walked to the edge of the balcony and gripped the railing. Beads of dew — clung to his body, causing him to sparkle in the orange glow. Below people jogged and walked their dogs through the quiet Brooklyn Heights neighborhood. For the umpteenth time, he wished his comrade had lived to see what he had made of his life.

Kenyatta Soladine, aka Gutter, was the most troublesome son of Algerian immigrants. Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Gutter knew just what a hard knock life it was. After the death of his father and grandfather, it had been up to the streets to raise him. Gutter's mother did what she could to keep her son on the straight and narrow, but the hood had always been his first love.

Gutter ate, slept, breathed, and fantasized about the hustle. He was a man who had been through so much that the life of a square held no place in his world. Gutter believed in and respected Allah, but unlike most people, he wouldn't waste time on his knees waiting for the Most High to shape his destiny. He would do it himself.

He stepped from the balcony into his bedroom, feeling the warm rush of air on his neck and chest. There was a time when Gutter would sleep through the sacred hour of prayer, but since the nightmares began he and sleep didn't always see eye-to-eye. The master bedroom of the duplex was dark, but the sun coming over the horizon was beginning to illuminate it. The first few rays had already crept up to the floor and gently touched the sleeping girl's face.

He leaned down and brushed a loose strand of hair from her forehead, and found that his fingers came away damp. Gutter couldn't help but wonder if Sharell's sleep was as fitful as his had been. He had literally taken her through hell and back and she was still with him. The murders, the drugs, him dying and rising again like the fabled Lazarus. She had been through it all. If he had it his way, she would never see another moment of hurt. Life would be good for his boo, but that didn't change the fact that he had business to handle. Blood would answer for blood.

Tucking his .38 snub into the waistline of his sweats, Gutter made his way down the stairs. The sun hadn't made it to the hall yet, so that remained dark. He didn't need any light though. Gutter performed this routine so often that he could do it with his eyes closed. He crossed through the spacious living room and retracted the metallic blinds. The orange rays of the sun seeped through the window and coated the living room in a soothing light.

The floors were made of mahogany and polished to an almost mirrored finish. The cream-colored sofa and love seat were made from butter-soft leather that had a sunken effect for the few privileged to sit in them. The apartment was decorated more for comfort than floss.

After securing the place, Gutter began his calisthenics. He started with push-ups, then went to sit-ups and back again. This went on for about a half hour or so. Often if he tried to work out too hard the old wounds began to ache. Cross had restored his body as best he could, but some of the wounds would still take time to completely heal. He hated the assassin for what he was, but was grateful that he had allowed him to breathe on his own again.

After the workout, he proceeded to the kitchen to make breakfast for himself and his lady. The meal consisted of eggs, waffles, and turkey bacon. No swine would be tolerated in the Soladine household. After completing the meal, Gutter proceeded to set the table.

SHARELL SAT bolt upright in the king-sized bed. Her gown was drenched with sweat, while her heart threatened to leap from her chest. She clutched the cross around her neck and tried to banish the fading images in her mind. It had been awhile since she had enjoyed a peaceful night's sleep. Every time she closed her eyes, she saw the faces of the dead. She always put God first in her life, but she knew she would have to atone for the part she played in the story that had unfolded.

Donning her robe and slippers, Sharell made her way into the hall. The first thing she noticed was the smell of breakfast being cooked. The scent greeted her nostrils and sent a signal to her stomach. Turkey bacon, she figured. She would know the smell anywhere. She enjoyed the tender strips of meat, but longed for her lost pork. There was really no comparison between the two.

When she got downstairs, Gutter had already set the table. The plates were decorated with fruits and dressing for appearance, and orange juice filled the crystal goblets. Smiling at her from the far side of the table was Gutter.

"Hey, baby," he said, getting up and pulling her chair out for her, "did you sleep well?"

"Like a rock," she lied. She didn't want to upset Gutter with tales of her nightmares. She had mentioned the dreams to him before, but had never told him the extent of them.

Gutter gave thanks to Allah, while she said a prayer to her god, before tearing into the food. They made small conversation at the table, but nothing significant. It had been this way for a while now. Gutter was still as attentive and caring as ever, but his mind always seemed to be elsewhere. It was no secret where that was.

"So, what you getting into today, baby?" Sharell asked, popping a piece of bacon into her mouth.

Gutter shrugged. "Probably bend a few corners. I got some things I gotta take care of on the set."

"The set," she repeated, shaking her head. "Kenyatta, you spend more time in the streets than a little bit. When you gonna give them corners up?"

"When the black man can get a fair shake in America." He winked.

She gave him a mock laugh. "I see you got jokes this morning."

"Ain't nothing funny about chasing a dollar, baby."

"Then why continue to do it?" she asked. Gutter gave her a look like he didn't understand the question so she elaborated. "Kenyatta, we've got money saved up and I'm no stranger to hard work. Why don't you get up out them streets?"

Gutter laughed, but Sharell's face remained serious. "Baby, you know I can't do that right now. I've got unfinished business to take care of."

She knew what he meant without him having to say it directly. She had been thrilled beyond words when he woke up from the coma. Through the grace of God her lover had been returned to her, but the man who got up out of that hospital bed wasn't the man she knew. On the surface he was still her Kenyatta, but there was a change in his soul. Though no one blamed him for what happened to Lou-Loc, Gutter felt otherwise. He believed that if he had been there his friend would still be alive. Instead of focusing on healing, his thoughts were consumed with revenge. No matter how much Sharell fought him on it he wouldn't let the vendetta go, blood would answer for blood. Sharell was forced to watch helplessly as her lover slipped further and further into the darkness. She could only pray that the Lord would deliver him from the insane quest before it consumed him.

"Kenyatta" — she placed her hand over his — "no matter how much work you put in, you can't bring him back."

"Come on, Sharell, don't start tripping this morning." He pulled his hand away.

"Kenyatta, I'm not the one tripping, you are. Baby, I know how you feel, believe me — "

"Sharell, ain't no way in hell you could know how I feel." His words were sharp, but the anger wasn't directed toward her. "My brother is dead ... gone ... fucking outta here. Them niggaz killed him like a dog in the street when all he wanted to do was get out of the game, and I'm supposed to let that ride? Fuck that, it's over when all them busters is dead." He slammed his fist against the table, nearly knocking over Sharell's orange juice.

"I'm sorry," he said softly. It took all of his concentration to stop the mounting rage from spilling over. "I see him every night, Sharell. Whenever I close my eyes I see my friend." Gutter placed his face in his hands and she almost thought she heard him sobbing. "He shouldn't have gone out like that, I should've been there."

Sharell got up from her chair and went to kneel beside Gutter. She moved his hands from his face and looked into his glassy eyes. "Kenyatta, the Lord decides who he calls home and when. Even if you had been there you can't say for sure that Lou-Loc would still be alive. It could've been two dead black boys instead of one. Baby" — she ran her fingers through his nappy beard — "it's a sad thing that happened to Lou- Loc, but you can't change what has already come to pass. You weren't there with Lou-Loc so you could be here with me" — she placed his hand over her stomach — "with us."

This brought a faint smile to his lips. "Yeah, I gotta make sure my little man comes up right." He kissed her on the forehead.

"Or little girl," she corrected him. With Gutter's help, she got off the floor and moved back to her seat.

"Whatever, you know damn well my first child gotta be a son."

"All your first child has to be is healthy, Ken. Boy or girl it's still gonna be ours."

After breakfast Sharell cleared the table while Gutter went upstairs to prepare for the day. From their walk-in closet, he chose a pair of blue jeans and a white Air Force. After pulling on his white T-shirt, he retrieved his chain from the dresser. It was a thirty-inch platinum cable that twirled in on itself and around the diamonds. The piece was a script G that had sapphires embedded in the grooves. The last accessory was a black .40 caliber, which he slipped into his pocket. He was ready to hit the streets.


DANNY-BOY LEANED against the black Escalade watching the people watch him. Dressed in a blue hoodie and sagging blue jeans, he stuck out like a sore thumb in the upper-class neighborhood. It didn't offend him though. He got a kick out of their reactions. One woman nearly snatched her dog off its feet for wandering too close to the banger.

Daniel "Danny-Boy" Thomas got his name because of his youthful appearance. He was twenty, but looked fifteen. His skin was the color of caramel, and he always wore his hair in a wavy Caesar. He was one of the set's newest recruits. When Gutter found him, he was a young knucklehead looking for acceptance. Under the O.G.'s tutelage, Danny-Boy was becoming a true-blue soldier.

When Danny spotted Gutter coming down the steps of the brownstone, he immediately straightened his posture, so as not to look like he wasn't on point. He respected and admired Gutter, so he was always looking for approval. Danny put on his best mean face and nodded.

"Boy, you look like you just swallowed a lemon," Gutter joked.

"Why you always gotta clown me, cuz?" Danny asked.

"'Cause you're trying too hard," Gutter said, walking around to the passenger's side. "Lil homey, I know you're official so you ain't gotta come wit the mean mug."

"Nah, man, I know you know. I just want the rest of these muthafuckas to recognize. When people see my face, they'll know not to try me."

"Danny, that's bullshit. If a nigga is gonna try you, he's gonna try you. It don't really make no never mind what's on your face. It's all about what's in your heart. Remember that shit."

Gutter had love for the young soldier, but sometimes Danny could be like a child. He was definitely one of the most dedicated little niggaz Gutter had encountered since being on the East Coast. Danny would put in work without question. His only hang-up was inexperience. He was always asking questions and speaking out of turn. Gutter tried not to be too hard on him, because he knew the boy was still young and didn't know any better. What Danny lacked in etiquette, he more than made up for in other areas. Before becoming a full-time banger, Danny was a boxer. He came up short during the Olympic trials, but he was lethal with his hands.


Excerpted from Gutter by K'wan Foye. Copyright © 2008 K'wan Foye. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

K'WAN is the #1 Essence bestselling author of Welfare Wifeys, Section 8, Still Hood, Hood Rat, and others. He wrote his first novel, Gangsta, as a therapeutic release, and it went on to become an Essence bestseller and a part of urban-lit history. In 2008 he received the Black Author of the Year Award from Black Press Radio. He has been featured in Time, KING, The New York Press, and on MTV and BET. Besides an author, K'wan is also a motivational speaker, a mentor to at-risk children and the C.E.O. of Black Dawn, Inc. He lives in New Jersey.

K'WAN is the #1 Essence bestselling author of Welfare Wifeys, Section 8, Gutter, Still Hood, Hood Rat, and others. He wrote his first novel, Gangsta, as a therapeutic release, and it went on to become an Essence bestseller and a part of urban-lit history. In 2008 he received the Black Author of the Year Award from Black Press Radio. He has been featured in Time, KING, The New York Press, and on MTV and BET. Besides an author, K’wan is also a motivational speaker, a mentor to at-risk children and the C.E.O of Black Dawn, Inc. He lives in New Jersey.

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Gutter 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 34 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
GUTTER is the long awaited sequel to K'wan's very first novel. To say that it's colossal would be like saying water is wet. Captivated by the excessive hunger, readers are instantly caught up in a vicious war. And while you may know that it's wrong, you feel yourself shift as you've instantly chosen a side. Your heart is beating in your ears as the first bullet is chambered. Afflicted with guilt, terrorized and terrified, but at the first sight of blood, you're unable to turn away. Like a leech, you read on, thirsting and needing more. GUTTER begins with best friends Kenyatta, aka Dollar, and Louis, aka Baby Loc, talking about what Dollar has done to ruffle feathers. Dollar decides that the only way to make sense about what is going on is to start from the beginning... Lou-Loc is dead and as a result of it, Gutter is laying everything red down! Sharell is pregnant and fearful that her man won't survive, and poor Satin is grieving while being held prisoner by her own mind. Remarkably enough, while obviously so much time has elapsed, you're still able to recall each scene like it was just yesterday. K'wan is truly an exceptional author. Admittedly, I felt guilty each time I turned the page. But like a soldier caught in the mist, I welcomed each challenge. I can earnestly say that GUTTER has awakened my thirst for the grittiness and heartache associated with the hood. While this dosage was enough to hold me off, I am looking forward to another hit and soon. GUTTER is truly an engaging urban tragedy that shines light on what it is to truly be a product of one's environment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just read this book..... it's worth it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shakes his head and turns around, trotting out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He picks up the kitten
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She growled. "I was left to die by one of your former members. It appears he is no longer there... or possibly alive." She jumped into the forest, her kit in her mouth.
michigal81 More than 1 year ago
I just thought that this book was okay. For some reason I just didn't get enjoy reading it as much as I have other books by K'wan. It took me a while to finish reading it because I just never was really able to get into it. At  one point I was just reading it to get finished with it because I don't like to not finish a book once I start reading it. The book just felt really long and drawn out. I still love K'wan, but this book just didn't hold my attention like some of  his other books did.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was good but it wasnt all that. A kind of book you borrow not buy.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If grimy street lit is what you are looking for, this is the book for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
MAYBELL More than 1 year ago
K'wan took me to another world reading this book it felt so real and I just absolutely LOVED it
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