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Aaron Gunner is a streetwise private eye working out of an office in Mickey Moore's Barber Shop in Los Angeles. He's already working for Connie Everson who wants him to find out who her City Councilman husband is having an affair with--she already knows about his white woman, but fears she has a black rival.  Now, he's also hired to find Yolanda McCreary's brother, Elroy Covington. Elroy never returned home from the Million Man March. When last seen, he was in LA at the Stage Door Hotel and he had Gunner's card in his room.

Looking for Elroy leads Gunner to Barber Jack Frerotte, a notorious razor blade wielding psychopath and then to the Defenders of the Bloodline, who are dedicated to ridding the African-American community of "Uncle Toms".

As always, Haywood is stronger on setting, character & dialogue than on the actual mechanics of the mystery. While he doesn't measure up to James Sallis or Walter Mosely, it's still a fun series.


Grade: (C)


See also:

Private Eyes
Book-related and General Links:
    -Darker Shade of Noir (LA New Times)
    -Can You Dig It? The Original Black Eyes (Thrilling Detective)
    -Can You Dig The New Breed? The New Black Eyes (Thrilling Detective)

    -African American Mystery Page
    -Black Street Fiction
    -Crime Writers (David King)
    -Dangerous Dames: A Timeline of Some of the Major Female Eyes (Thrilling Detectives)
    -Edgar Award: Best First Novel
    -Film Noir and Pulp Fiction
    -A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection
    -Gumshoe Site
    -Hardboiled : online reference site for all things noir
    -Hardboiled Heaven
    -Hard Boiled Noir Webring
    -Martin's Film Noir Page
    -Mysterious Home Page The Online Mystery Network
    -Mystery Net Awards Page
    -No Night Sweats
    -RARA-AVIS : mailing list devoted to the discussion of hardboiled (and noir) fiction
    -The Reader's Corner presents  Female Sleuths
    -Thrilling Detective Website
    -Twists, Slugs and Roscoes: A Glossary of Hardboiled Slang
    -Women of Mystery (Bookaholic)

Other Aaron Gunner Mysteries, by Gar Anthony Haywood:
    -Fear of the Dark
    -You Can Die Trying
    -Not Long for this World
    -It's Not a Pretty Sight (1996)

If you like the Aaron Gunner books, try:

Himes, Chester
    -If He Hollers Let Him Go
(Coffin Ed Johnson & Gravedigger Jones Mysteries)
    -Cotton Comes to Harlem
    -The Real Cool Killers
    -The Heat's On
    -The Crazy Kill   (Read Orrin's review, Grade: B)

Mosley, Walter
(Easy Rawlins Mysteries)
    -Devil in a Blue Dress
    -A Red Death
    -White Butterfly
    -Black Betty
    -A Little Yellow Dog
    -Gone Fishin'       (Read Orrin's review, Grade: B)

Sallis, James
    (Lew Griffin Mysteries)
        -Black Hornet
        -Eye of the Cricket
        -The Long-legged Fly

Tidyman, Ernest
    -Shaft Among the Jews