Your House Will Pay

by Steph Cha
October 2019 – Ecco Press / HarperCollins (US)

A powerful and taut novel about racial tensions in LA, following two families—one Korean-American, one African-American—grappling with the effects of a decades-old crime.

In the wake of the police shooting of a black teenager, Los Angeles is as tense as it’s been since the unrest of the early 1990s. Protests and vigils are being staged all over the city. It’s in this dangerous tinderbox that two families must finally confront their pasts.

Grace Park lives a sheltered existence: living at home with her Korean-immigrant parents, working at the family pharmacy, and trying her best to understand why her sister Miriam hasn’t spoken to their mother in years. The chasm in her family is growing wider by the day and Grace is desperate for reconciliation, and frustrated by the feeling that her sister and parents are shielding her from the true cause of the falling out.

Shawn Matthews is dealing with a fractured family of his own. His sister, Ava, was murdered as a teenager back in 1991, and this new shooting is bringing up painful memories. Plus, his cousin Ray is just released from prison and needs to reconnect with their family after so many years away. While Shawn is trying his best to keep his demons at bay, he’s not sure Ray can do the same.

When another shocking crime hits LA, the Parks and the Matthewses collide in ways they never could have expected. After decades of loss, violence, and injustice, tensions come to a head and force a reckoning that could clear the air or lead to more violence.

Steph Cha is the author of the Juniper Song novels, a crime trilogy published by Minotaur. She is the Noir Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, and a contributing book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times. She lives in Los Angeles.


“With YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY, Steph Cha has taken a dark moment in Los Angeles’s violent history and cracked it wide open, creating a prism of understanding—of the pull of generational violence and its enduring devastation, but also of the power of human grace against all odds. It’s a touching portrait of two families bound together by a split-second decision that tore a hole through an entire city.”—Attica Locke, Edgar-Award winning author of Bluebird, Bluebird

“Steph Cha’s YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY is extraordinary, a deeply-felt and sharply-observed exploration of the ties the bind, and divide, family, community, and nation. It’s moving, compelling, surprising, funny, explosive, and deeply human—an unforgettable novel.”—Lou Berney, author of November Road

“A propulsive, lacerating novel about two families caught in the turmoil of a city and nation in crisis. Fearless, insightful, and alight with a brutal compassion, YOUR HOUSE WILL PAY is a devastating exploration of grief, shame, and deeply buried truths.”—Catherine Chung, author of The Tenth Muse