cover image One-Shot Harry

One-Shot Harry

Gary Phillips. Soho Crime, $26.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-64129-291-7

Set in 1963 Los Angeles, this terrific novel from Phillips (the Ivan Monk series) centers on freelance photographer and occasional process server Harry Ingram. Ingram, a Korean War vet, sells his photos to local newspapers and magazines, many serving the Black community. Ingram also listens to a police scanner, poised to capture moments of conflict and racial injustice. One day he catches a call to the scene of a fatal car accident. Ingram recognizes the car described as belonging to an old army buddy, Ben Kinslow. A well-known figure in town, Kinslow was a jazz trumpeter and had just recently reconnected with Ingram. Something about the scene doesn’t feel right to Ingram. Was his friend’s death really an accident, or was he being targeted? Ingram turns gumshoe and embarks on an investigation that leads to old guard lefties, rogue cops, Nation of Islam activists, and politicians on the make. The forthcoming visit of Martin Luther King Jr. adds to the drama. With close attention to period detail and precise prose, Phillips brings the era vividly to life. Crime fiction fans won’t want to miss this one. Agent: David Hale Smith, Inkwell. (Apr.)