Cover Image: Ash Dark as Night

Ash Dark as Night

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Member Reviews

The comparisons to Ellroy are pretty superficial. This book is set in a similar place and era, but the writing style is a lot more straight forward. Ultimately this is a solid crime procedural novel that evokes LA in the 1960s - not a type of story that I'm personally that invested in anymore. The whole vibe feels exhausted to me - your mileage may vary.

Still, this book is well crafted and if you're a fan of Easy Rawlins in particular, I could see this being a good fit.

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Garry Phillips to my delight returned with Harry Ingram, Anita Claire duo in Ash Dark Night. A gritty crime novel featuring Harry Ingram photographer and pretty darn good PI. Harry finds himself in the middle of a LA riot and he snaps a photo of a young man shot and killed. The police try to cover this up, of course, and Harry's photo is published showing the man clearly had to weapon.

Phillips has created two very good crime novels. Harry's a great character, but Anita Claire has a lot to be explored. Highly Recommended .

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Gary Phillips' forthcoming novel, Ash Dark as Night (Scheduled for publication: April 2, 2024; ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C9ZDTB3R; Publisher ‏ : ‎ Soho Crime) is a follow-up to his earlier One-Shot Harry novel, which also features as the hero/amateur detective photographer Harry Ingram. That earlier novel was also set in South-Central Los Angeles, but in 1963, exploring racial tensions between the community and Captain Parker's LAPD.

Ash Dark as Night picks up Ingram's story in 1965 as the Watts Riots began and Ingram is right in the middle of the action. As looting and arson take over neighborhoods in South Central, Ingram is out with his camera, photographing what is going on, including a car pulled over and an altercation between the police and a community organizer, resulting in a death. Ingram captures the moment, showing that the man shot appeared to be unarmed and his photograph made the papers, resulting in a brief moment of fame for Ingram. Phillips' prose captures the mood of the moment, including both the lawlessness and the anger in South Central. You also get the sense that this moment in 1965 was different in tone and feel from the later Los Angeles riots in 1991 and 2020 and was more tied to the Civil Rights movement.

The story continues in the days following the outbreak of violence on the streets as Ingram is accosted by the police, his camera taken, his body beaten, and the story turns to his search for an acquaintance of his girlfriend's family who has been missing. Amidst the search for this person, Ingram navigates across the city as his home is bugged by Parker's Intelligence Division and Reverend King comes to the city to bring some peace and channel the energies in a positive way.

This novel is at its best in the first half, detailing the mood and activity as the city descends into chaos. The later half is a little less compact and takes a decided shift to a smaller story about the search for the missing friend. The characters are extremely well-developed, particularly Ingram and Anita Claire, who retrieves his missing film in the midst of looting and under the eyes of the police.

This reviewer received an advance reader's copy for purposes of review.

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Thank you for the opportunity to preview Ash Dark as Night. Set in another time but not so different than today. Racial tensions set in 1965 begin this novel and a man who sees something and captures it on film is the center of a mystery. Part 2 of the series.
Well written and a real gumshoe novel. 3 stars

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