Created by Gary Phillips
It’s Los Angeles in the early sixties, and the times are definitely a-changing, as uneasy questions about race, class, civil rights and some sort of conflict in Southeast Asia are starting to heat up.
But all jazz-loving African-American Korean War vet and camera ace “ONE-SHOT” HARRY INGRAM really wants is to sell a few pictures to the papers, and work as a process server part-time to make ends meet. And so he listens in on his police scanner, hoping for the scoop that’ll rescue him from his side gig as a process server, and praying he doesn’t run too far afoul of the LAPD.
But it ain’t easy. In an impressive series launch, the eponymous One-Shot Harry (2022), MLK’s coming to town for a big rally, tensions are high, and an old Army buddy’s fatal car accident may not have been an accident after all–despite what the cops say.
Fortunately, Harry’s no pushover. He’s still got his old Colt .45, and he’s not afraid to use it–if he has to.
Naturally Phillips jams the book–hopefully the first in a series–with plenty of pulpy goodness: historical shout-outs, wisecracks (Harry has a mouth on him), racist thugs, dreamers, bully boy cops (also racist), and enough hard-boiled shenanigans to keep things popping.
- “Phillips vividly captures the sights and sounds of the era (jazz and blues on Central Avenue) as well as the ubiquitous racism and police brutality that threatened everyone in the Black community. Ingram emerges as a particularly satisfying, no-nonsense hero.”
— Booklist (starred review)
- “Like Walter Mosley in his stories about Easy Rawlins, Phillips presents a powerfully history-driven mystery.”
— Kirkus (starred review)
- “Gary Phillips is my kind of crime writer.”
— Sara Paretsky
- “In the tradition of Dashiell Hammett . . . Makes us feel that the war he’s waging is for our own salvation.”
— Walter Mosley
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
One-man pulp factory Gary Phillips has published novels, comics, novellas, short stories and edited or co-edited numerous anthologies, including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir (2017), while his debut, Violent Spring (1994), which introduced private eye 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, ex-showgirl turned courier for the mob Martha Chainey, 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.
- One-Shot Harry (2022) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Stop the Presses!
Newsroom Eyes and Other Newshawks
- “The Cool, the Square and the Tough: The Archetypes of Black Male Characters in Mystery and Crime Fiction” (by Gary Phillips)
This essay by Phillips originally appeared in The Black Scholar, and was later reprinted in The Desecrator, a special, limited edition 1999 book , with an introduction by Richard Barre, which included a short story of the same name, the essay by Gary Phillips, a bibliography of both Phillips and Barre, and illustrations by Phil Parks.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.