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Only the Wicked

Only the Wicked

(Pre-Order, Aug 20 2024)

Gary Phillips
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Black private eye Ivan Monk takes on his most personal mystery to date--and chases answers 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 later, Spears is an old man in a barbershop making ends meet. An offhand comment about a former teammate, Kennesaw Riles, shocks one of his customers, private eye Ivan Monk, who has deeply buried memories of a ball-playing cousin by that name. Monk knows little of Riles, who has been on the outs with his family since his questionable testimony put civil rights leader Damon Creel behind bars for murder back in the 60s. But before Monk can get the full story, Spears drops dead. Days later, Kennesaw Riles follows suit. Monk knows that the timing is not a coincidence.

To understand the pair of deaths as well as his own past, Monk digs into his family history.

He follows the mystery to Mississippi, where he further unravels the murder of two civil rights activists and connects the dots to a group of Mississippi businessmen who may not have changed their ways as much as they claim. Far from Los Angeles, the tenacious P.I. is forced to confront a brand of hatred that he thought had died with Jim Crow.

An LA thriller with roots in the Deep South, Only the Wicked weaves together baseball, blues, and backwoods politics in iconic P.I. Ivan Monk's most personal and politically resonant case to date.


Gary Phillips has published novels, comics, novellas, short stories and edited or co-edited several anthologies, including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir. Almost 30 years after its publication, his debut, Violent Spring, was named one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. He also was a story editor on Snowfall, an FX show about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central, where he grew up.

  • Publisher: Soho Crime
  • Publish Date: August 20, 2024
  • Pages: 336
  • Dimensions: 0.81 pounds
  • Language: English
  • Type: Paperback
  • EAN/UPC: 9781641294454
  • BISAC Categories: Mystery & Detective - Private Investigators, African American - Mystery & Detective, Crime
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