Contel Bradford: « The Breakdown »
Contel Bradford’s story
Who is Contel Bradford? Ask me and I will tell you: he’s a skilled Detroit writer, a scenarist and also a novelist.
As I started reading his novel entitled « The Breakdown », I was positively surprised by the great quality of his text. “The Breakdown” is one of three stories. The trilogy can be considered as a novel or an anthology.
Contel is a great narrator who allows you to penetrate into his world, the Detroit ghetto.
D12 fans may be familiar with the background described in « The Breakdown ».
There are references to many Detroit areas and streets. There is also a reference to Livonia which is a neighborhood that is well known for its racism towards black people.
« If you are black–you dont drive thru Livonia at night–you will be arrested for one thing or another. » (Backstab the Kingpin)
But most of the references are taken out of East Detroit (8 Mile Road, Wayne county) where crime rates are very high.
Contel introduces you into a world of gang wars, sex, alcohol and drugs.
Dave Johnson, the hero of the novel loses nearly everything within one single day: his car breaks down, he catches his girlfriend cheating on him, young thugs start attacking him in the hood because of the color of his bandana, his cousin Boo gets killed by rival gang members…
It seems like Dave has been caught into an unlucky trail: during Boo’s funeral, his untrustworthy girlfriend Tiffany gets murdered. This tragically event is just another example of gang vendettas, which belong to the every day ghetto life.
Followed by an amazing misfortune, Dave suddenly notices that he caught a venerian disease from his unprotected adventure with Brandy, a young girl pretending to be a virgin.
As Dave and Shawn climb into their car with a non hidden intention to get revenge from their family members’ bloody murders, they have no idea about what kind of trouble is waiting for them.
More problems on their road: the police arrests both men and finds out Shawn was driving with a revoked driving licence. Soon they will also know about Dave’s criminal past.
Things start to worsen when the cops discover that both young men are high after smoking their blunts and that they are carrying an illegal weapon.
The idea of spending around 5 years in jail was unbearable in Dave’s mind. Even his cousin Shawn couldn’t stop him while he made a desperate attempt to get free. Dave shoot two times in direction of the female officer. Himself got shot directly in the forehead. Picture of death and silence. Dave is leaving earth. He has lost everything, including his life.
« The Breakdown » is a dark drama who shows people about the fragility of our condition, which is certainly an invitation always to stay humble. You might win everything within one single day and lose it next day as well.
It is a well written story that will make you fully understand the context of the Detroit ghetto, a place where you have to struggle if you want to survive.
I particularly appreciate Contel Bradford for the realness of his story, his undeniable narrative skills. Check out this passionate writer‘s story, he belongs to the generation of Detroit’s new writing talents.