Ash Dark as Night

Soho Crime. (Harry Ingram, Bk. 2). Apr. 2024. 312p. ISBN 9781641294744. $27.95. M
Freelance press photographer Harry Ingram first appeared in Phillips’s One-Shot Harry, set in 1963. It’s 1965 now, and the Watts riots have erupted. On the first day, with stores on fire and looting rampant, people crowd the streets. The police retaliate violently and indiscriminately. Harry is one of only two Black people photographing the scene and snaps a photo of a white cop gunning down an unarmed Black person. The cops see Harry and arrest him. He ends up in the hospital, his trusty Speed Graphic camera confiscated. How can he get it back to prove what happened? Enter his firecracker girlfriend Anita, who works by day for a mayoral hopeful but robs banks at night with her leftist parents to finance the revolution. She’s up for anything. By the time the novel is over, the menu has expanded to include a missing man, burglary rings, bank robberies, and city-wide conspiracies. There’s also a coded journal that incriminates cops and pols. The bad guys think Harry has it, and his newfound fame after the recovered photo is published puts him in the spotlight, not a comfortable place at all to be.
VERDICT Hardboiled, gritty, and fresh, Phillips’s latest is for fans of action/detective stories.
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