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One-Shot Harry

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Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer a Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Freedom Rally, Ingram risks becoming a victim at every crime scene he photographs. When Ingram hears about a deadly automobile accident on his police scanner, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, a white jazz trumpeter. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos, he sees signs of foul play. Ingram feels compelled to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Armed with his wits, his camera, and occasionally his Colt .45, “One-Shot” Harry plunges headfirst into the seamy underbelly of LA society, tangling with racists, leftists, gangsters, zealots, and lovers, all in the hope of finding something resembling justice for a friend. Master storyteller and crime fiction legend Gary Phillips has filled the pages of One-Shot Harry with fascinating historical cameos, wise-cracks, tenderness, and an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a plot with consequences far beyond one dead body.


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Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer a Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Freedom Rally, Ingram risks becoming a victim at every crime scene he photographs. When Ingram hears about a deadly automobile accident on his police scanner, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, a white jazz trumpeter. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos, he sees signs of foul play. Ingram feels compelled to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Armed with his wits, his camera, and occasionally his Colt .45, “One-Shot” Harry plunges headfirst into the seamy underbelly of LA society, tangling with racists, leftists, gangsters, zealots, and lovers, all in the hope of finding something resembling justice for a friend. Master storyteller and crime fiction legend Gary Phillips has filled the pages of One-Shot Harry with fascinating historical cameos, wise-cracks, tenderness, and an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a plot with consequences far beyond one dead body.

30 review for One-Shot Harry

  1. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    This is a good historical crime novel with a lot of authentic period details. In 1963, African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram is a news photographer and sometime writer in Los Angeles. When an army buddy dies in a car crash, Harry suspects that it wasn’t an accident. With the help of a new girlfriend he begins to investigate. The book links together Martin Luther King Jr., civic corruption, prostitution, communist sympathizers, a series of bank robberies and pervasive racism. There is This is a good historical crime novel with a lot of authentic period details. In 1963, African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram is a news photographer and sometime writer in Los Angeles. When an army buddy dies in a car crash, Harry suspects that it wasn’t an accident. With the help of a new girlfriend he begins to investigate. The book links together Martin Luther King Jr., civic corruption, prostitution, communist sympathizers, a series of bank robberies and pervasive racism. There is a good bit of violence and a little sex. Pretty much what you would expect from gritty detective fiction. I liked Harry and his girlfriend, but this book introduces a lot of interesting characters. The book had an extremely abrupt ending, leaving loose ends and causing a slightly unsatisfied feeling. I assume that this is the start of a new series. Since events and characters were not tidily linked up at the end of this book, maybe that will happen in the next one. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Leon Nixon. He had a lovely deep voice and did an excellent job with the narration. I received free copies of the ebook and audio book from the publisher.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah-Hope

    I'm always on the lookout for an interesting new historical mystery series and Gary Phillips' One-Shot Harry certainly fits the bill. It's set a few years after the end of the Korean War and takes place laregly within L.A.'s varying Black communities: artists, the privileged, "ordinary" people. The Harry of the title is Harry Ingram, a Black Korean War veteran still dealing with shell shock. Like far too many BIPOC people in U.S. history, he deals with the daily insult of having fought for the r I'm always on the lookout for an interesting new historical mystery series and Gary Phillips' One-Shot Harry certainly fits the bill. It's set a few years after the end of the Korean War and takes place laregly within L.A.'s varying Black communities: artists, the privileged, "ordinary" people. The Harry of the title is Harry Ingram, a Black Korean War veteran still dealing with shell shock. Like far too many BIPOC people in U.S. history, he deals with the daily insult of having fought for the rights and freedoms of others while being denied them at home. Harry makes a living as a freelance photographer and—to make ends meet—process server. His photographs usually wind up in Black newspapers and magazines, though there are exceptions. When the novel takes place, L.A. is preparing for a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., part of the lead-off to the March on Washington. Harry has landed a press pass for the event. Harry's also dating a woman who works as an organizer for Tom Bradley; following a Nation of Islam protest at a local store; attempting to locate the stolen journal of an L.A.-area Communist organizer hoping to write a memoir; and investigating the suspicious death of a longtime friend—as well as finding people who don't want to be found as part of his work as a process server. The pacing in One-Shot Harry is brisk. The characters are complicated in the best of ways. And Phillips shines a light on recent history that deserves to be much better known. If you enjoy mysteries (historical or not), novels with a political slant, or 1960s L.A. and California, you'll want to read One-Shot Harry. I received a free electronic copy of this novel for review purposes from the publisher via EdelweissPlus; the opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Col

    Synopsis/blurb... Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions run Synopsis/blurb... Race and civil rights in 1963 Los Angeles provide a powerful backdrop in Gary Phillips’s riveting historical crime novel about an African American forensic photographer seeking justice for a friend—perfect for fans of Walter Mosley, James Ellroy, and George Pelecanos. LOS ANGELES, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King’s Freedom Rally, Ingram risks becoming a victim at every crime scene he photographs. When Ingram hears about a deadly automobile accident on his police scanner, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, a white jazz trumpeter. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos, he sees signs of foul play. Ingram feels compelled to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Armed with his wits, his camera, and occasionally his Colt .45, “One-Shot” Harry plunges headfirst into the seamy underbelly of LA society, tangling with racists, leftists, gangsters, zealots, and lovers, all in the hope of finding something resembling justice for a friend. Master storyteller and crime fiction legend Gary Phillips has filled the pages of One-Shot Harry with fascinating historical cameos, wise-cracks, tenderness, and an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride of a plot with consequences far beyond one dead body. ------ My take.... This one was a rich, satisfying read. On the surface, it's the story of one man's meddling in the suspicious death of a friend. But it's a lot more than that, as it provides a detailed exposé of black life in early 60s LA. That life can be perilous, a lot more so when what you are doing brings you in the crosshairs of rich, powerful white men and their paid heavies. Harry Ingram is a black veteran, a photographer and a process server. He's also his own man, tough, determined and a little bit reckless. Here he needs to be a bit of all three to dig into the death of a friend. It's been been written off as an accident by the LAPD. Ingram isn't so sure and gets to add investigator to his résumé. I'm guessing Phillips has done his research and some of the events depicted in the book actually happened. Ditto some of the characters mentioned, though my knowledge of black activists in 60s America (or at even any period in time) is limited and undoubtedly some of the references passed me by. In the background to the story we have an impending Civil Rights Rally at Wrigley Field which Martin Luther King will be speaking at. The forthcoming rally adds a layer of tension and excitement to the story. War comrades and friendship transcending racial boundaries, a death - accidental or not, curiosity into what our friend had been upto, some digging, some dodgy photos, a romance, the Nation of Islam, a couple of persistent heavies, confrontation, violence, and before our conclusion a death or two. I think I enjoyed the book as much for the investigation by Ingram into his friend's death and the peril that placed him in, as I did for the social and historical context provided. It's tough reading about the cop interactions with innocent black citizens and the brazen unjust treatment that is doled out to them. Billy clubs as negotiating tools don't really serve to advance tolerance and understanding in different communities. At all times Ingram is mindful of where he is and the company he is keeping. Racism in the 60s was a lot less covert and more in your face, than perhaps it is today. Maybe I'm naive. Rodney King, George Floyd and countless others might beg to differ. Entertaining, educational, and despite the near 60 year old setting, just as relevant today. 4 from 5 The Jook and Monkology as well as Hollis PI - a series of stories featuring (and curated by) Phillips have all been enjoyed a long long time ago. (2014 and earlier) Read - April, 2022 Published - 2022 Page count - 251 Source - review copy from Edelweiss Above the Treeline Format - Kindle http://col2910.blogspot.com/2022/04/g...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Yigal Zur

    it have so much promise but....a book without end it is based on a plot before Martin Luther King was murdered. it is interesting but than toward the 3rd part it start to be jumpy. not really connected from part to part. yes we know history but we like a well build story and it is not the case. sloppy.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    A couple of observations to start: This novel is obviously to be the first in a series so don’t expect all loose ends to be tied; and it seems the author gives every person, place, and thing a backstory so there are lots little interludes with some being more interesting and relevant to the story than others. Since the time period written about are the months before MLK is assassinated, the topics are interesting and the situations ring true. I liked the two main characters very much. Thanks to N A couple of observations to start: This novel is obviously to be the first in a series so don’t expect all loose ends to be tied; and it seems the author gives every person, place, and thing a backstory so there are lots little interludes with some being more interesting and relevant to the story than others. Since the time period written about are the months before MLK is assassinated, the topics are interesting and the situations ring true. I liked the two main characters very much. Thanks to NetGalley and Soho Crime for the ARC to read and review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Not Gary Philips best, but still worth reading. I would be surprised if this book doesn't mark the beginning of a new series. It bothered him his motives weren't pure, but more so that he hadn't recognised this himself. He could look in the mirror and see a familiar face, yet those he knew saw his true self. "Shit" he muttered,... 4* Not Gary Philips best, but still worth reading. I would be surprised if this book doesn't mark the beginning of a new series. It bothered him his motives weren't pure, but more so that he hadn't recognised this himself. He could look in the mirror and see a familiar face, yet those he knew saw his true self. "Shit" he muttered,... 4*

  7. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This was the first Gary Phillips novel I have read. It definitely won't be the last. I really enjoyed the pieces of history that were woven into the narrative of this book. They provided a great backdrop for the investigation that Harry takes up. The accuracy was appreciated and at times I felt as if the story could be nonfiction. Harry is a Korean War vet who is now working as a photographer and process server. Harry ends up photographing the deadly wreck of an old Army friend. The details of t This was the first Gary Phillips novel I have read. It definitely won't be the last. I really enjoyed the pieces of history that were woven into the narrative of this book. They provided a great backdrop for the investigation that Harry takes up. The accuracy was appreciated and at times I felt as if the story could be nonfiction. Harry is a Korean War vet who is now working as a photographer and process server. Harry ends up photographing the deadly wreck of an old Army friend. The details of this image are the beginning of the mystery. Harry works to uncover what happened to his friend from years ago. The racial tensions of the time are present in the writing. Harry must be conscious of what being a Black man in LA in the 1960s means and in turn how the police will treat him. The narrative is well paced and kept my attention. Through the writing we meet interesting people both fictional and real. Having Harry be a photographer and that helping drive the narrative was a clever approach. His work definitely helped keep the story moving. I recommend this book to anyone looking for a crime mystery novel. 4/5. Thanks to #NetGalley, #SohoPublishing, and #RecordedBooks for this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Star Gater

    A good story, which I love. I like the One-Shot reference title (no spoiling. The story is set while MLK is alive and seeking no violence. With respect to history, the US had a positive role model, and the author uses smart characters during this period to tell his story. I was all-in. The story provoked every emotion in me. This is a smart mystery during a historical period not used as the backdrop. Kudos to the author. I do believe this will be a series. If so, I hope narrator Leon Nixon is no A good story, which I love. I like the One-Shot reference title (no spoiling. The story is set while MLK is alive and seeking no violence. With respect to history, the US had a positive role model, and the author uses smart characters during this period to tell his story. I was all-in. The story provoked every emotion in me. This is a smart mystery during a historical period not used as the backdrop. Kudos to the author. I do believe this will be a series. If so, I hope narrator Leon Nixon is not forgotten. Thank you NetGalley and RB Media for accepting my request to read and review One-Shot Harry.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    A great novel, introducing African American Korean War Veteran Harry Ingram. Harry is a news photographer in 1963 Los Angeles. When a war buddy dies unexpectedly, Harry suspects foul play and begins to investigates. Great characters and a good look at the 1960s. This story has a lot of plot points. But be prepared, not all of them are resolved. So I'm guessing this will be a new series. I love that. But I don't like all the dangling plot points.... And I have one minor gripe. Harry and a friend A great novel, introducing African American Korean War Veteran Harry Ingram. Harry is a news photographer in 1963 Los Angeles. When a war buddy dies unexpectedly, Harry suspects foul play and begins to investigates. Great characters and a good look at the 1960s. This story has a lot of plot points. But be prepared, not all of them are resolved. So I'm guessing this will be a new series. I love that. But I don't like all the dangling plot points.... And I have one minor gripe. Harry and a friend are talking about growing up. The comic book Fantastic Four is mentioned. That comic didn't come around until the 60s. So they wouldn't have known of it growing up....

  10. 5 out of 5

    David C Ward

    Very good start to a series about Harry Ingram, Black freelance news and crime photographer in early 60s LA. A lot going on in this one as Ingram looks into the death of a friend, including white power brokers and the hoodlums they hire, the backwash of the Red Scare, police racism, PTSD from Korea, and Dr King is coming to town. A nice texture to the narrative. Also: we had a 1962 Plymouth Belvedere too: one of the crappiest American cars ever made.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Morgan Beckley

    Thank you to Soho Crime, Gary Phillips, and Goodreads Giveaways for the ARC of One-Shot Harry. One-Shot Harry is a gritty crime novel that follows Harry Ingram, a black Korean war vet living in 1960s Los Angeles. Harry is a photographer, always on the lookout for the perfect photo op. While listening to the police scanner, he hears of one such opportunity. However, what appears to be an accident at first glance is actually the cover-up for a more sinister plot. The novel follows Harry as he uncov Thank you to Soho Crime, Gary Phillips, and Goodreads Giveaways for the ARC of One-Shot Harry. One-Shot Harry is a gritty crime novel that follows Harry Ingram, a black Korean war vet living in 1960s Los Angeles. Harry is a photographer, always on the lookout for the perfect photo op. While listening to the police scanner, he hears of one such opportunity. However, what appears to be an accident at first glance is actually the cover-up for a more sinister plot. The novel follows Harry as he uncovers what really happened that day. The pace is quick, the dialogue is witty, and the book will keep you on your toes throughout the entire ride. Phillips is a talented writer with a knack for writing interesting characters and creating an immersive reading experience. I enjoyed One-Shot Harry immensely. There wasn't a predictable twist present. Additionally, I loved the look into what life would have been like for a black man living in 1960s Los Angeles. Harry's perspective felt real and I found myself angry on behalf of Harry for the way he was treated in parts of the book. There were a couple aspects of One-Shot Harry that I wish had been a bit different. The quick pace is great, but at the beginning, it was hard to keep up. There were a lot of characters introduced within the first 50 pages or so, and it was hard to keep track of who was who at first. There was also a LOT going on. I think that one of the subplots could have been dropped or minimized in favor of giving more detail and attention to the main storyline. I really enjoyed One-Shot Harry! It's definitely worth a read!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dan

    My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Soho Press for an advanced copy of this mystery novel. One thing as I reader I have always enjoyed about mysteries is that an author, especially a skilled one, can teach and show more about an era, more about a system that people had to live with and live under, while presenting a murder to be solved. Fiction readers might complain about a book being preachy, science fiction writers might complain about a book being to Star Trek-y. Mysteries though, add a My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Soho Press for an advanced copy of this mystery novel. One thing as I reader I have always enjoyed about mysteries is that an author, especially a skilled one, can teach and show more about an era, more about a system that people had to live with and live under, while presenting a murder to be solved. Fiction readers might complain about a book being preachy, science fiction writers might complain about a book being to Star Trek-y. Mysteries though, add a body and a good puzzle with characters readers care about, and a lot of educating can be done. And being a very good writer like Gary Phillips helps. One-Shot Harry introduces Harry Ingram , an African- American Korean War veteran who tries to break even by working as a newspaper photographer and a process server in the Los Angeles are in 1963. Which is difficult with antagonistic cops, sundown towns and the usual people not wanting to be served for court by anybody. A late night accident involving the death of a war buddy involves Harry in a case that no one wants investigated, in a town that is starting to boil over in racial tension. The story is very good. The atmosphere is noir, but with a lot of race tossed in. Mike Hammer wouldn't have near the problems that Harry Ingram does investigating the death of his friend, dealing with racial politics and his outsider status. Mr. Phillips does beautiful job of describing life in Los Angeles, with its unstated codes of how people were treated and where they could go. There are numerous cameos from real people, and many small details that really set the stage for the story, and where it is going. Harry Ingram has seen a lot of things in his time on Earth, which makes him a character you want to root for, even when nothing seems to go his way. Not just a good mystery, but a very good story. Definitely for fans of Walter Mosley, with its setting and its use of small details to make everything seem real. Los Angeles is portrayed as the the dirty racist town it was, and in many ways continues to be. Mystery stories can teach and show quite a lot about history, life and the human condition. One of the biggest mysteries is why we treat each other the way we do.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Krystal

    Thank you to NetGalley and RB Media for allowing me to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. When it comes to mysteries, I like when an author comes at it from an unusual angle or time period, which is why I jumped at the chance to listen to One-Shot Harry. A mystery based in 1960s L.A. with a black protagonist who's also a news photographer?! Sign me up for that. The author, Gary Phillips, does an excellent job portraying 1960s L.A. with details and events that ac Thank you to NetGalley and RB Media for allowing me to listen to this audiobook in exchange for an honest, unbiased opinion. When it comes to mysteries, I like when an author comes at it from an unusual angle or time period, which is why I jumped at the chance to listen to One-Shot Harry. A mystery based in 1960s L.A. with a black protagonist who's also a news photographer?! Sign me up for that. The author, Gary Phillips, does an excellent job portraying 1960s L.A. with details and events that actually happened. Actually, maybe he did too good of a job with all the extra details - it often felt like the mystery took a backseat to the setting. The time period details and the mystery weren't balanced to let each shine. For the mystery itself, the reveal was great, but the lead-up to it was bogged down by a red herring that made no sense for the story. Throughout much of the book I questioned why things were even happening. The reveal, though, was so on-point for the story that I actually let out a long, surprised "Ohhhhhh!" I wish Phillips would have spent more time leaving the reader tidbits for that than the nonsensical red herring. One area I was relatively pleased was Phillips writing of a photographer. Authors often get this wrong or go too poetic about how a photographer gets a photo (coming from a photographer, it's more about angles and technical aspects than anything poetic). I really enjoyed seeing how Harry Ingram navigated this field of work. When I first started listening to One-Shot Harry, I thought Leon Nixon had been the perfect choice for the time period. But as it went along, I began to realize that it all felt a little off - not to mention that he hardly ever differentiated between the characters. It became a struggle when multiple people were talking. Overall, not a bad change of pace for a mystery, but maybe not something I'd immediately suggest to someone.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Roberta

    This was the first Gary Phillips novel I have read. It cries out to be the first book in a series and I hope that it is because Harry Ingram deserves more than just one book. Certainly, there was enough crime in Los Angeles in the 1960’s and later to support a series. I was given an advance uncopyedited edition of the book to read (and review if I chose to) but it’s not necessarily a book that I would have picked up on my own so I was a little surprised that I enjoyed reading it as much as I di This was the first Gary Phillips novel I have read. It cries out to be the first book in a series and I hope that it is because Harry Ingram deserves more than just one book. Certainly, there was enough crime in Los Angeles in the 1960’s and later to support a series. I was given an advance uncopyedited edition of the book to read (and review if I chose to) but it’s not necessarily a book that I would have picked up on my own so I was a little surprised that I enjoyed reading it as much as I did. I remember the 1960’s but I didn’t live in California, much less Los Angeles, so the time period was familiar to me but the setting totally unfamiliar. Actually, that’s not a bad combination. Harry is a Korean War vet who is now working as a photographer and occasional process server. Harry recognizes the car of his Army buddy, Ben Kingslow, on his scanner and races to the scene. The LAPD is already there but don’t see him in time to prevent him from photographing the car that Kingslow died in. The coroner calls it a “death by misadventure” and the LAPD obviously has no intention of doing any kind of an investigation. Harry is pretty sure that Kingslow was murdered and he can’t let it go. But Kingslow’s death is just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the fictional amateur detective (he is fictional, right?) the book holds a host of real-life characters including Communists, con men and women, leg breakers, Black Muslims, musicians, Mayor Tom Bradley, Malcolm X, Chief William Parker and Martin Luther King, Jr. There is a lot of name-dropping to remind us of where and when Harry is; songs, and singers, musicians, comedians, and the newspapers and magazines that Harry sells photos to.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David

    One Shot Harry is a cleverly written time capsule into 1962. The author does a wonderful job transporting the reader back to 1962 Los Angeles. The reader is reminded of stores, bars, and brands that no longer exist. The reader is reminded of radio stations (now gone) and disc jockeys that were popular in those days. He is reminded of alcohol brands and old model cars. The reader is also reminded of the double standards regarding race relations. This brings the reader a sense of sadness and shame One Shot Harry is a cleverly written time capsule into 1962. The author does a wonderful job transporting the reader back to 1962 Los Angeles. The reader is reminded of stores, bars, and brands that no longer exist. The reader is reminded of radio stations (now gone) and disc jockeys that were popular in those days. He is reminded of alcohol brands and old model cars. The reader is also reminded of the double standards regarding race relations. This brings the reader a sense of sadness and shame about the way things were in those days. The author mentions sundown towns-- where black men would be beaten and or killed if caught in those vicinities after sundown. The Green book, a travel guide for black people, existed to tell these people places they could eat or stay when on the road and places to avoid. Harry is a part-time news photographer who has a backup gig as a process server. When his white friend in killed in a staged automobile accident-- Harry begins digging into his death. Along the way, he is going to run into racist cops and leftist activists. He even uncovers a plot against Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr. While the story is period-rich-- there is a one major error. The author has Harry, a Korean War veteran, and his childhood friend portrayed as fans of the comic book heroes "The Fantastic Four" which was not created until 1961. This was kind of annoying, as the author seemed to get everything else right. This is a quality story-- and it sets up for a sequel. The big bad guy tells Harry over the phone that their paths will cross again. The murderer is exposed, but only confronted by Harry... This book is worth reading for the period material, much more than the mystery and the action.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Zamora Logan

    One-Shot Harry was a throwback to 1960's LA in the midst of racism, jazz, blackmailers, and love. Harry Ingram was a character that was easy to vibe with as he navigated his world. Gary Phillips does an amazing job world-building and building characters that left you wanting to know more about them and of course what happened to Ben Kingslow. This book reminded me of the Eary Rawlins series by Walter Mosley. If you are looking for a good old-school BIOPIC mystery... this is the book for you! Los One-Shot Harry was a throwback to 1960's LA in the midst of racism, jazz, blackmailers, and love. Harry Ingram was a character that was easy to vibe with as he navigated his world. Gary Phillips does an amazing job world-building and building characters that left you wanting to know more about them and of course what happened to Ben Kingslow. This book reminded me of the Eary Rawlins series by Walter Mosley. If you are looking for a good old-school BIOPIC mystery... this is the book for you! Los Angeles, 1963: African American Korean War veteran Harry Ingram earns a living as a news photographer and occasional process server: chasing police radio calls and dodging baseball bats. With racial tensions running high on the eve of Martin Luther King's Freedom Rally, Ingram risks ending up one of the victims at every crime scene he photographs. When Ingram hears a call over the police scanner to the scene of a deadly automobile accident, he recognizes the vehicle described as belonging to his good friend and old army buddy, the white jazz trumpeter Ben Kingslow, with whom he'd only just reconnected. The LAPD declares the car crash an accident, but when Ingram develops his photos there are signs of foul play. Ingram feels no choice but to play detective, even if it means putting his own life on the line. Armed with his wits, his camera, and occasionally his Colt .45, Harry Ingram plunges head-first into the seamier underbelly of LA society, tangling with racists, leftists, blackmailers, gangsters, zealots and lovers, all in the hope of finding something resembling justice for a friend.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jane

    It’s 1963 and African American Korean war vet, Harry Ingram, is living in Los Angeles and working as a news photographer and part-time process server. It’s a volatile time, as racial tensions run high and the city anticipates a visit from Martin Luther King, Jr. Meanwhile, when Harry learns that a friend and former army buddy has died in an automobile accident, he isn’t convinced that it was just an accident. Soon Harry finds himself knee-deep in the seamier side of LA. One-Shot Harry is a book t It’s 1963 and African American Korean war vet, Harry Ingram, is living in Los Angeles and working as a news photographer and part-time process server. It’s a volatile time, as racial tensions run high and the city anticipates a visit from Martin Luther King, Jr. Meanwhile, when Harry learns that a friend and former army buddy has died in an automobile accident, he isn’t convinced that it was just an accident. Soon Harry finds himself knee-deep in the seamier side of LA. One-Shot Harry is a book that has a lot going on. There is a myriad of characters, each with his or her own story, and several different storylines. The number of characters alone creates a somewhat uneven pace and it sometimes feels clumsy, as the story transitions from the backstories to the current timeline. The mystery is well-developed, especially as it’s told from Harry’s viewpoint and how he tackles the various threads that eventually lead him to the book’s conclusion. Some of the most interesting aspects of the book are the stories surrounding the city, culture, and people of Los Angeles. The author provides a glimpse of the city in the early 1960s and this makes the book sparkle. I suspect that Gary Phillips has more plans for Harry and I am looking forward to his future adventures. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rickey Mantley

    Gary Phillips Pulls a Doozy Out of Hat I know the author personally so this review isn't unbiased. But it's still a pleasure to read an author at the peak of his literary powers. With One-Shot Harry, Gary Phillips has created a memorable, down-to-earth, resourceful, Korean War veteran and journeyman photographer who had me rooting for him every page. What's remarkable about Harry Ingram is his tenacity and how quick-thinking, level-headed, and two-fisted he is. He's the perfect protagonist for h Gary Phillips Pulls a Doozy Out of Hat I know the author personally so this review isn't unbiased. But it's still a pleasure to read an author at the peak of his literary powers. With One-Shot Harry, Gary Phillips has created a memorable, down-to-earth, resourceful, Korean War veteran and journeyman photographer who had me rooting for him every page. What's remarkable about Harry Ingram is his tenacity and how quick-thinking, level-headed, and two-fisted he is. He's the perfect protagonist for his life and times: Los Angeles during a tumultuous period when blacks were testing the waters and clamoring for personal freedom and equality like never before in the nation's history. This book is a quick, absorbing read, eye-opening history lesson, and tidy murder mystery that leaves a few threads hanging, all in one. Walter Moseley eat your heart out. I highly recommend One-Shot Harry and other books in the author's oeuvre, including the numerous crime mystery anthologies he's helped edited and put together. The virtues of Gary Phillips have yet to be extolled and appreciated by the reading public. With One-Shot Harry hopefully Gary Phillips will get the growing audience he richly deserves. More power to you, paisan.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Piselli

    Fun book that will be even more fun if you are interested in 1960s LA, 1960s Black community, or just plain the 1960s, with the Avenues, Eastside Old Tap, the original Wrigley field, the J-Flats, Blatz beer and El Producto cigars. There is a lot of this kind of detail and side story. I wondered whether this One Shot Harry is supposed to be the real life Harry Adams? And a Black news photographer in the 60s in LA who doesn't know where Temple No. 27 is doesn't seem right. But all in all it was an Fun book that will be even more fun if you are interested in 1960s LA, 1960s Black community, or just plain the 1960s, with the Avenues, Eastside Old Tap, the original Wrigley field, the J-Flats, Blatz beer and El Producto cigars. There is a lot of this kind of detail and side story. I wondered whether this One Shot Harry is supposed to be the real life Harry Adams? And a Black news photographer in the 60s in LA who doesn't know where Temple No. 27 is doesn't seem right. But all in all it was an excellent portrait of living in LA in the sixties while Black (and also while Communist, through the lady friend's story), with some tense and tingly adventures. I had just one serious bone to pick really and that's Phillips' relationship with librarians. Let's see, they occur 3 or so times, a female described as "aging and handsome" - what's that mean, that she looks like a man? And Ingram's love interest wearing a dress that wouldn't have her mistaken for a librarian - ouch! I guess that's just more of the sixties for you. But the Dewey Decimal error early in the book proves that Phillips has never asked for help finding books on anatomy in a public library.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lawrence Maddox

    Set in 1963 Los Angeles, One Shot Harry follows African American crime photographer (think Weegee but on the West Coast) Harry Ingram as he investigates the death of his friend, a white jazz musician he served with in the Korean War. Harry's search is hampered by a racist LAPD, as well as by the emotional scars he carries from bloody combat overseas. A budding romance with a left-wing political activist stokes Harry's suspicions that powerful political forces are behind the death of his friend, Set in 1963 Los Angeles, One Shot Harry follows African American crime photographer (think Weegee but on the West Coast) Harry Ingram as he investigates the death of his friend, a white jazz musician he served with in the Korean War. Harry's search is hampered by a racist LAPD, as well as by the emotional scars he carries from bloody combat overseas. A budding romance with a left-wing political activist stokes Harry's suspicions that powerful political forces are behind the death of his friend, and could have even darker purposes at an impending Martin Luther King rally. One Shot Harry is an intriguing crime story that pulls you in deeper as Harry's investigation makes him the target. Along the way, we meet real-life characters such as a young Tom Bradley (who would become LA's first African American mayor) to R&B legend Johnny Otis. Peppering his crime story with real historical figures gave this reader the sense that Phillips's fiction is a way of deciphering history itself. A fascinating read that I couldn't put down. Looking forward to the sequel.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Miriam

    Set in 1963, this gritty free-lance news photographer turned PI mystery weaves between several investigations. African American Korean War Vet Harry Ingram first reconnects with his GI buddy Ben Kinslow, then hears of his death just a day later. Was it an accident or murder? The action is subtle, the shoot-out very-1963ish, while the mystery is complex. Clues abound and fall softly into place as Ingram follows the breadcrumbs. Along the way, Ingram meets WWII and Korean Veterans who tell their ta Set in 1963, this gritty free-lance news photographer turned PI mystery weaves between several investigations. African American Korean War Vet Harry Ingram first reconnects with his GI buddy Ben Kinslow, then hears of his death just a day later. Was it an accident or murder? The action is subtle, the shoot-out very-1963ish, while the mystery is complex. Clues abound and fall softly into place as Ingram follows the breadcrumbs. Along the way, Ingram meets WWII and Korean Veterans who tell their tales of war and survival. Set in the shadow of Martin Luther King's Freedom Rally, Harry Ingram's camera sees all, including the players who dance around the various crimes. With luck, this is the start of a new series by veteran writer Gary Phillips. I, for one, will read his other mysteries, you should too! Thanks to The BookLoft of German Village (Columbus, OH) http://www.bookloft.com for an ARC to read and review.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    I enjoyed this one for several reasons. Harry is so easy to cheer for--he's kind, loyal, courageous, and pragmatic. He appreciates the good things he finds in his wide-ranging circle of acquaintances. His ability to step back and show events through his photographer/journalist's perspective makes him the perfect hero for this adventure set in 60's LA. Fifty years later, things have changed, but also they have not.There are lots of characters, both historic and fictional, amd the plot gets a bit I enjoyed this one for several reasons. Harry is so easy to cheer for--he's kind, loyal, courageous, and pragmatic. He appreciates the good things he finds in his wide-ranging circle of acquaintances. His ability to step back and show events through his photographer/journalist's perspective makes him the perfect hero for this adventure set in 60's LA. Fifty years later, things have changed, but also they have not.There are lots of characters, both historic and fictional, amd the plot gets a bit convoluted, but Harry's gutsy resourcefulness, as well as the contributions of his amazing girlfriend, Anira, make this an entertaining read. Also a reminder of a time of great upheaval and questioning of everything for those of us who were very young then. And maybe a mini history lesson for those who weren't around yet. Thanks Goodreads.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Beth Morrill

    One-Shot Harry is a compelling mystery that places you deep into the late 50's, early 60's. Harry is a Korean War veteran, a photographer, and a journalist. The mystery in the book kept me interested and I enjoyed spending time with the main character. As I mentioned, the book takes you deep into the time period, particularly as it was experienced by African Americans. The only drawback that I experienced was the constant "name dropping" of the historical era. The author had obviously done exten One-Shot Harry is a compelling mystery that places you deep into the late 50's, early 60's. Harry is a Korean War veteran, a photographer, and a journalist. The mystery in the book kept me interested and I enjoyed spending time with the main character. As I mentioned, the book takes you deep into the time period, particularly as it was experienced by African Americans. The only drawback that I experienced was the constant "name dropping" of the historical era. The author had obviously done extensive research but novel may have been more natural without the constant, specific references to the time period. Despite that, I found the book to be an enjoyable foray into a time, place and experience that I knew little about.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Eliza Svihra

    Honestly, I had such high hopes for this book and it completely disappointed. I won it in a goodreads giveaway and started it almost immediately. It started off good and strong with a great plot and great characters. The telling was a bit muddy with multiple reused phrases and constant switching between calling characters by their first or last name, but it had a good story…. Until midway through. There was too many info-dumps that were insignificant or created too many questions that were never Honestly, I had such high hopes for this book and it completely disappointed. I won it in a goodreads giveaway and started it almost immediately. It started off good and strong with a great plot and great characters. The telling was a bit muddy with multiple reused phrases and constant switching between calling characters by their first or last name, but it had a good story…. Until midway through. There was too many info-dumps that were insignificant or created too many questions that were never solved by the end. In fact, the last chapter was literally just paragraphs for each unanswered question. The way it ended, I am unsure of if there will be a second book, probably not, but if there is I wouldn’t read it anyways. Not a favorite, for sure.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Pj Gaumond

    Great read, Harry Ingram is a character to be reckoned with!!!! He's more than a photographer and relentless in his search for the truth when his friend dies in an accident that he thinks is murder. This book shows the difficulties African American men who came back from the Korean War and were still treated wrongly. It's a commentary on how someone who seems to have a lot against him doesn't let it stop him and keeps going against all odds. The characters in this book are very believable and th Great read, Harry Ingram is a character to be reckoned with!!!! He's more than a photographer and relentless in his search for the truth when his friend dies in an accident that he thinks is murder. This book shows the difficulties African American men who came back from the Korean War and were still treated wrongly. It's a commentary on how someone who seems to have a lot against him doesn't let it stop him and keeps going against all odds. The characters in this book are very believable and the struggles are real. Thank you Gary Phillips, Soho Crime and Goodreads for a really good read. I hope this isn't the last we see of Harry Ingram as he deserves to have another episode!!!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    Thanks to Soho press for an advanced copy of this mystery novel. It takes place in 1960’s Los Angeles. Harry is an African American Korean War veteran. He is a news photographer and process server who becomes involved in the death of a good friend whose death is declared an accident by LAPD. Harry’s photos show otherwise and he becomes involved in solving this crime in order to find justice for his friend. The setting is noir and gritty. In his detective work, he encounters racism, gangsters and Thanks to Soho press for an advanced copy of this mystery novel. It takes place in 1960’s Los Angeles. Harry is an African American Korean War veteran. He is a news photographer and process server who becomes involved in the death of a good friend whose death is declared an accident by LAPD. Harry’s photos show otherwise and he becomes involved in solving this crime in order to find justice for his friend. The setting is noir and gritty. In his detective work, he encounters racism, gangsters and much violence.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Hot

    I am assuming that this is the beginning of a series? The premise is great & as a history nerd there were enough details to transport me back to the time in question. Very slow mid book. I mean, lots and lots of detail and backstory that wasn’t always needed. I would probably continue with the series- especially if some of the minutiae is skipped in the next book. Solid 3 🌟 book- but too many questions left unanswered for it to be a standalone. Thanks to NetGalley for the audiobook. My participa I am assuming that this is the beginning of a series? The premise is great & as a history nerd there were enough details to transport me back to the time in question. Very slow mid book. I mean, lots and lots of detail and backstory that wasn’t always needed. I would probably continue with the series- especially if some of the minutiae is skipped in the next book. Solid 3 🌟 book- but too many questions left unanswered for it to be a standalone. Thanks to NetGalley for the audiobook. My participation with NetGalley in no way influenced my review of this book.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fred Johnson

    Intrigue and suspense across the "Cotton Curtain" Freelance photographer Harry Ingraham turns amateur detective after the suspicious accidental death of a wartime buddy. His inquiries take us all over Black Los Angeles of the early sixties - where Black aspirations are stifled by racist police and a shadowy cabal of the city's movers and shakers. On this quest he encounters con artists, leg breakers, Black Muslims, jazz greats, beautiful women and... Martin Luther King. A fast, fun read, and not Intrigue and suspense across the "Cotton Curtain" Freelance photographer Harry Ingraham turns amateur detective after the suspicious accidental death of a wartime buddy. His inquiries take us all over Black Los Angeles of the early sixties - where Black aspirations are stifled by racist police and a shadowy cabal of the city's movers and shakers. On this quest he encounters con artists, leg breakers, Black Muslims, jazz greats, beautiful women and... Martin Luther King. A fast, fun read, and not just because I, too, live in L.A.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Julianabadescu

    3.5 - though not set in the 40s it has the feel of a Noir story, I could hear it in my head as such. Good story line, interesting characters and so much background. Maybe if it had been set in the 40s BUT it wasn’t, the horrifying way the African Americans are treated in the 60s reminds us that the injustices many would like to pretend either did not happen or happened “long ago” are still a work in progress we need to acknowledge in order to progress forward. Really well done, good writing.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

    Harry Ingram is a crime photographer, subpoena server, budding private-eye in 1960s LA. His friend dies suspiciously causing Harry to investigate. Along the way Phillips paints a vibrant picture of Black life at that place and time. Many characters. Communists. A young Tom Bradley. A cameo by MLK. The book seems to be more of a picture of Black life than a whodunit. The books ends in a way that may signal more to come.

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