One-Shot Harry

Soho Crime. Apr. 2022. 288p. ISBN 9781641292917. $24.95. M
It’s 1963. Reverend King Jr. is slated to speak in L.A. in two weeks, preparatory to his August March on Washington. Racial tension is rife in Los Angeles, but what’s new about that? When Korean War buddy Ben Kinslow dies in a crash, Black press photographer Harry Ingram isn’t convinced it’s an accident. Ben was working for a Provider, an influential white businessman working behind the scenes to undermine the candidacy for mayor of Tom Brady, who’s Black. Was Ben killed to shut him up? But how does a Black man go about digging up the truth in a city so openly racist? Harry follows his leads, calling on ordinary citizens, hoods, even members of the Nation of Islam and leftover Communists. Along the way he connects with a woman he may be in love with: she’s working for Brady, totes a gun and isn’t afraid to use it. In the end, they avert a crime but don’t catch a killer, who, protected by skin color and wealth, is untouchable in 1963 California. Unanswered questions raised along the way are left unresolved.
VERDICT Phillips’s (The Obama Inheritance) Harry is a worthy companion to Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins. Here’s hoping it’s not a one-shot appearance.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing