Two cases preoccupy Aaron Gunner in Shamus Award–winner Haywood’s solidly plotted seventh outing for the African-American L.A. PI (after 2000’s All the Lucky Ones Are Dead). Gunner gets the shocking news that his cousin and closest friend, Del Curry, is dead, along with his wife, in a murder-suicide the police pin on Del. The shooting left Del’s 22-year-old daughter in a coma. As Gunner struggles with his loss, he resolves to get answers and clear his friend. At the same time, he’s working as an investigator for his new girlfriend, attorney Kelley DeCharme, to free Harper Stowe, an Afghan war veteran; Stowe has been arrested for the murder of his boss at an auto parts store. With a righteous sensibility, Gunner takes a grinding, never-quit approach to sorting out tangled relationships and troubled family dynamics. As a 17-year-old soldier who served in Vietnam in 1969, he has genuine empathy for Stowe. If Gunner’s politics put him on a soapbox at times, this is still a pleasure to read. Hopefully, Gunner will be back soon. (Oct.)
"Good Man Gone Bad is Gar Anthony Haywood’s best work yet, keeping a tight focus on Aaron Gunner and his exploration of his city and the meaning of justice. More than a mystery, this book is a mirror held up to society and the world."
Michael Connelly, New York Times-bestselling author of the Harry Bosch novels
"Mr. Haywoodthis is his seventh and best novel yet to feature Gunneris a gifted writer with a flair for description.... The two dissimilar cases confronting Gunner test the detective's confidence to the fullest. He sees himself, at his most insecure, as "a black pretend-cop working from the back of the Watts barbershop." But an abundance of tenacity, courage and resourcefulness proves a lot more valuable to Gunner and his fortunate clients than a fancy office.”
Tom Nolan for Wall Street Journal
"Good Man Gone Bad is Haywood in peak form, a classic hard-boiled mystery full of sly humor and street wisdombut also a surprisingly tender treatise on masculinity and the futility of violence. A page-turner as engaging as it is deep."
Attica Locke, author of Bluebird, Bluebird, Heaven, My Home, and The Cutting Season
“Good Man Gone Bad is bracing, heart-wrenching fiction from Haywood, and the best in his Aaron Gunner series to date. Gunner is by now part of LA's contemporary noir canoncynical, compassionate, and tireless in his pursuit of stubborn truths. Hip and raw. Don't miss it.”
T. Jefferson Parker, New York Times–bestselling author of The Last Good Guy
Praise for the Aaron Gunner Novels
"The fresh dialogue, raffish atmosphere and boldly drawn characters leave little doubt as to why Haywood's mysteries are fast becoming hard-boiled classics."
Entertainment Weekly (Page-Turner of the Week)
"Gunner yanks the sheet off the American nightmare of race, politics, and murder, L.A. style."
Acclaimed film director Spike Lee
“Like the first six books in the Aaron Gunner series, this dark, brooding tale will remind readers of classic Southern California crime novelists Philip Marlowe and Ross Macdonald. Haywood’s tight, no-frills prose is outstanding, and he does a fine job of developing the characters who inhabit Gunner’s poor side of town.”
"…solidly plotted seventh outing for the African-American L.A. PI… a pleasure to read… Hopefully, Gunner will be back soon.”
"A masterful mystery writer."
"Aaron Gunner is back! And Los Angeles needs him now, more than ever. Good Man Gone Bad peels away the lies we tell each other to avoid our painful inner truthsthe most powerful kind of detective story."
Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award–winning author of the Mas Arai mysteries
South Central shamus Aaron Gunner (All the Lucky Ones Are Dead, 2000, etc.) emerges from two decades of hibernation to solve a pair of unrelated murders.
One of Gunner's two investigations is routine, albeit hopeless. Retired engineer Harper Stowe Jr. has engaged attorney Kelly DeCharme, the occasional client who's been drifting into a romance with Gunner, to clear his son, Harper Stowe III, of killing Darlene Evans, who until a few hours before her fatal shooting had been his boss at Empire Auto Parts. Since the Afghan War vet can't provide an alibi, and since he suffers from PTSD and was overheard by his childhood friend and co-worker Eric Woods threatening Darlene Evans while she was firing him for cause, and since his fingerprints were found on the murder weapon, the LAPD sees no reason to look further. But Gunner doesn't like the neat way the evidence all seems stacked against Stowe or the fact that all the witnesses who might help him, from his sometime girlfriend Tyrecee Abbott to Empire manager Johnny Rivera, seem determined to stonewall Gunner instead. And Gunner, rarely a patient man, has even less tolerance for stonewalling than usual because that second case has cut to his heart. Shortly after phoning Gunner to tell him, "They're gone, cuz. My girls. They're both gone and it's my fault," Gunner's cousin, electrician Del Curry, is found shot along with his wife, Noelle, and their daughter, Zina, 22. Although Zina miraculously survives, the crime is immediately classified by Detective Jeff Luckman as a murder/attempted murder/suicide, and there doesn't seem to be any evidence to vindicate Del, whose situation would look worse than that of Harper Stowe III even if he weren't dead.
Memorable mainly for the portrait of the hero's troubled family within the larger universe of LA's African American community.
PI Aaron Gunner gets a phone call from his cousin Del, his confidant and best friend. Del blames himself for the shooting of his wife and daughter, then shoots himself. At least that's what the police say happened. As Del's daughter lingers in the hospital, Gunner searches for answers as to why the good man he knew would shoot anyone. His investigation reveals a business in financial trouble and a proud man who didn't ask for help. Did Aaron know his cousin any more than he knows the suspect in another shooting, a fellow Vietnam vet? As Aaron's investigations lead him through the sometimes violent streets of South Los Angeles, he realizes even a good man can be pushed too far. VERDICT Following 2000's All the Lucky Ones Are Dead, this latest in the series brings back a dogged PI determined to find the truth. A Shamus Award winner for Fear of the Dark, the mystery that introduced Gunner, Haywood reminds readers of our complex motives and the possibility of violence always present in noir books. Tracy Clark's readers will want to rediscover a master.—Lesa Holstine, Evansville Vanderburgh P.L., IN