Martha Chainey

Created by Gary Phillips

From the creator of Ivan Monk comes a new hero, MARTHA CHAINEY.

Okay, so she’s not a P.I., and she’s not exactly on the side of the angels. But she’s a six foot, tough-talking, hard-as-nails African American ex-showgirl now working as a courier for some Vegas thugs, so you go ahead–you tell tell her she can’t be listed here.

In Martha’s first recorded adventure, High Hand (2000), some seven million in cash she’s transporting is ripped off, and her employers aren’t exactly pleased.

I thought at first that this was a stand-alone novel, but Martha’s proven to be one hell of a character. She returned in Shooter’s Point the following year.

Just imagine Stark’s Parker if he’d ever worn six-inch heels and an awful lot of sequins…


Both Martha and Ivan were early series characters, but Phillips has gone on to become something of a one-man pulp factory, publishing novels, comics, novellas, short stories and editing or co-editing numerous anthologies, including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir (2017), while his debut, Violent Spring (1994), which introduced Ivan Monk, was named one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. Other characters he’s created over the years include disgraced football player Zelmont Raines, 1960 news photog One-Shot Harry Ingram and black LA eye Nate Hollis who appeared in the comic series Angeltown. He’s also been an L.A.-based activist and community organizer for over two decades, dealing with various community empowerment issues ranging from affordable housing to the narco-industrial complex, and his political and pop culture pieces have run in the L.A. Times, the L.A. Watts Times, the Baltimore Sun, the Black Scholar Journal and Rap Pages Magazine, and he served as a story editor on FX’s Snowfall, which dealt with crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central, where he grew up.



Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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