Created by Christopher Chambers
“The streetlights are buzzing to life as the sun does somewhere over Virginia.”
— opening line of Standalone
Recovering addict (maybe) and unlicensed Black private eye DICKIE CORNISH, one of Washington D.C.’s homeless (one of the publisher’s blurbs refers to him in wokespeak as a “street denizen”), picked up what detective skills he has after being framed for the murder of a couple of his buddy denizens in his debut, Scavenger (2021). In his second outing, Standalone (2022), he agrees to look for the missing six-year old daughter of Al-Mayadeen Thomas, an ex-con makes his request while pointing a gun at Dickie’s head—and then blows his own brains out.
This a world of junkies and squatters, hookers and abused children, so don’t hold your breath waiting for it to be adapted for the Hallmark Channel anytime soon. But for those who like their crime served up raw, gritty and grimy, this is one to watch. Comparisons to George Pelecanos, S.A. Crosby and Andrew Vaachs and TV shows like The Wire abound, and this series offer a similar, no-holds-barred, street-level view; is unafraid to point fingers.
Granted, the slang-heavy prose and slurred second person narration can be a pain in the ass—but for readers willing to take it on, it’s worth the trip.
- “Novels written from the perspective of homeless substance users don’t come along every day. When they do, it’s a good idea to pay attention, since they offer a window into the casual cruelty of our social economy, which much fiction eschews. Christopher Chambers’ new mystery Scavenger offers just such a window.”
— Washington City Paper
- “Chambers makes the smell and harrowing vibe of the mean streets of the nation’s capital come alive.”
— Publishers Weekly on Standalone
- Scavenger (2020) | Buy this book | Buy the audio | Kindle it!
- Standalone (2022) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.