Charlie Mack

Created by Cheryl A. Head

CHARLENE “CHARLIE” MACK is a Black private eye from Detroit, and Boy! Is she ever!

She’s covers that beleaguered city better than anyone this side of Loren Estleman’s Amos Walker. And just in case it slips your mind, the series is billed as “The Charlie Mack Motown Mysteries.”

So don’t forget the Motor City, okay?

Charlie runs her own detective agency, Mack Investigations, which consists of a motley crew of oddballs, each with their own special areas of expertise–and their own problems. But along with a few well-selected freelancers (and the occasional help of FBI agent James Saleh) they get the job done. The agency’s gained a solid rep for professionalism, in part because Charlie’s a great, if rather eccentric, boss (Like, what’s with the multi-coloured sticky notes?). But she’s tough when she needs to be, and she knows which side the bread’s buttered on.

If only her personal life could be so easily managed. When the series starts, with Bury Me When I’m Dead (2016), Charlie’s still in the closet, still uneasy about her newly discovered sexual orientation (she used to be married, but has developed strong feelings for red-haired, green-eyed Mandy Porter, a Grosse Pointe cop, even as she’s carrying on an adulterous affair with a male co-worker) and about how her mother, Ernestine, suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s, would react.

The series, of course, evolves. People come, people go. Mandy and Charlie end up together (with the approval of Ernestine), sharing a house on Detroit’s east side, along with their long-haired pooch Hamm. Charlie’s ex remarries. The agency grows. Along the way, the author makes good use of Detroit’s colourful multicultural swirl and working class roots.


A Detroit native, Cheryl A. Head now lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, where she works as a writer, television producer, filmmaker, broadcast executive, and media funder. Her debut novel, Long Way Home: A World War II Novel, was a 2015 Next Generation Indie Book Award finalist in both the African American Literature and Historical Fiction categories. When not writing fiction, she’s a passionate blogger and user of Twitter, and she regularly consults on a wide range of diversity issues.


  • “I love a private eye series because the discoveries I make as a reader about the flawed character of the PI mirror the journey the central character makes over the course of several books. In this masterful series, Cheryl Head creates a PI you want to root for: Charlene “Charlie” Mack… Like many of the private eye novels I admire, this one delves into contemporary social issues with a sharp eye for nuance and realism without skimping on the entertainment and action.”
    — Delia C. Pitts


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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