Ivan Monk chases a mystery deep into America’s shameful past
Half a century ago, Old Man Spears was a hero of the ballpark. In an age when baseball was segregated, he played in the Negro Leagues, providing hope for a generation of oppressed African Americans. Decades after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color line, Spears is an old man in a barbershop straining to hear the game on the radio. An offhanded comment about a former teammate, Kennesaw Riles, shocks private eye Ivan Monk, who has deeply buried memories of a ball-playing relative by that name. But before he can pick the old man’s brain, Spears drops dead. A few days later, Kennesaw Riles follows suit.
To understand the pair of deaths, Monk digs into the history of his family and his country. He follows the mystery to Mississippi blues country, where he’s forced to confront a brand of hatred that he thought had died with Jim Crow.
MysteriousPress.com/Open Road; December 2011
- ISBN 9781453237588
- Read online, or download in secure EPUB format
- Title: Only the Wicked
- Author: Gary Phillips
Imprint: MysteriousPress.com/Open Road
In The Press
“[A] gripping tale starring a genuinely charismatic hero.” —Booklist
“Phillips creates a harrowing, deft portrayal of post-apocalyptic Los Angeles, capturing its people, its mood and its language with a skill so keen that he verges on sleight of hand.” —Wendy Hornsby, author of the Maggie MacGowan series
“In the tradition of Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op, Ivan Monk takes on a corrupt world. . . . He makes us feel that the war he’s wagering is for our own salvation.” —Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins series
About The Author
Gary Phillips (b. 1955) is a critically acclaimed author of mysteries and graphic novels. Born in South Central Los Angeles, Phillips grew up reading comics and classic pulp fiction, and took inspiration from heroes like Doc Savage when he created his first series character, Ivan Monk, in the early 1990s. A private detective adept at navigating the racial tensions of modern Los Angeles, Monk has appeared in four novels and one short story collection, Monkology (2011).
Phillips introduced his second series character, Martha Chainey, in High Hand
(2000), and followed that rollicking tale of a showgirl’s mafia troubles with two more books. Phillips has also found success with graphic novels, penning illustrated stories inspired by classic noir and pulps. When not writing, he spends his time with his family, his dog, and an occasional cigar. Phillips continues to live and work in Los Angeles.