Black Hornet

James Sallis

ISBN: 9781641291477

Published: November 12, 2019

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Paperback $16.95

James Sallis

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With this flashback novel to Lew Griffin’s past, James Sallis takes readers to 1960s New Orleans, a sun-baked city of Black Panthers and other separatists.

A sniper has fatally shot five people. When the sixth victim is killed, Lew Griffin is standing beside her. Though they are virtual strangers, it is left to Griff...

With this flashback novel to Lew Griffin’s past, James Sallis takes readers to 1960s New Orleans, a sun-baked city of Black Panthers and other separatists.

A sniper has fatally shot five people. When the sixth victim is killed, Lew Griffin is standing beside her. Though they are virtual strangers, it is left to Griffin to avenge her death, or at least to try and make some sense of it. His unlikely allies include a crusading journalist, a longtime supplier of mercenary arms and troops, and a bail bondsman.

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“What Chester Himes did for Harlem when he began publishing in the late 1950s with Masque Noir, the famous detective imprint of the French publisher Gallimard, and Walter Mosley now does for Los Angeles, James Sallis is doing for New Orleans: appropriating the genre of the American detective novel and casting it with black characters in an authentic voice and setting . . . James Sallis writes in the tradition of Raymond Chandler, albeit via Albert Camus: a little plot and a lot of atmosphere and attitude . . . A good, wry, borderline cynical and yet deeply moral voice that carries the book with style . . . [A] rich tapestry of social unrest and vividly evoked characters and settings.”
The New York Times Book Review
“With two fine crime works in the tales of black operative Lew Griffin, Sallis here delivers another: a prequel and a grim, utterly absorbing novel set in 1960s New Orleans . . . Sallis's New Orleans sparkles. ”
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“James Sallis is doing some of the most interesting and provocative work in the field of private eye fiction. His New Orleans is richly atmospheric and darker than noir. Black Hornet is terrific.”
—Lawrence Block
“Haunting . . . Black Hornet is fast-moving, elliptical, and like a jazz trumpet solo, has a plaintive note of melancholy woven through it.”
Washington Post Book World