Gar Anthony Haywood’s Aaron Gunner series is very good and also a great example of the racism inherent in the publishing industry.
I read a lot of books, as my archive on this site can attest to. I’ve read hundreds, maybe thousands of mystery/thriller type books. Admittedly, the vast majority of writers I’ve read are white. I’m not exculpating myself in the problem here. But what does frustrate me, and what I think is worth nothing, is that Haywood’s books are so much better than most of the drunken cop/PI or pill-addled house frau shlock that often makes bestseller lists because its written by and for white people.
Haywood has won both an Edgar and Shamus award respectively, two of the most prestigious prizes in his field. And yet, I would’ve never known these books existed if not for a listicle on black mystery writers. Which is partially on me. And is a problem I’m seeking to rectify.
Anyway, this is another good book in the series. Aaron Gunner has to put aside his disdain for gangbanging culture in 80s LA in order to exonerate someone he doesn’t have a strong desire to help in the first place. Throughout the book, we see his internal struggle with this, as well as what the country itself does to black people. Throw in a twisty mystery and you’ve got yourself a special tale. It also helped that Haywood toned down the misogyny from the first one.
I definitely want to finish this series and more, I want to do my part to make sure writers like Haywood don’t slip through the cracks of mainstream bookselling because of racism.