Christopher Chambers brings to life not only an unforgettable character but also the gritty DC streets he inhabits. … A deeply realistic noir mystery with a social conscience.” —Hill Rag Magazine “Novels written from the perspective of homeless substance users don’t come along every day. When they do, it’s a good idea to pay attention, since they offer a window into the casual cruelty of our social economy, which much fiction eschews. … Like Hammett with San Francisco or Chandler with Los Angeles, Chambers’ mystery is as much about Washington as it is about the amoral monsters who prey on ordinary people and the lone gumshoe who takes them on.” —Washington City Paper “A really good book ... which really nails Washington in the current environment. [Christopher Chambers] knows the city well.” —George Pelecanos, author, The Man Who Came Uptown “[A] no-holds-barred crime novel . . . a 21st-century twist on traditional hardboiled noir.” —Publishers Weekly “[SCAVENGER] is told in a voice that is distinctive, expressive, and is unafraid to challenge readers who may find the street patois hard to interpret. That's kind of the point. Dickie Cornish's world is far from most readers' lived experience, and it is his compelling voice and the dialogue of a vast cast of memorable street characters that helps immerse the intrepid armchair traveler in a world that's mostly invisible but just around the corner and down the alley from DC's halls of power.” —Reviewing the Evidence “[SCAVENGER] is gritty, raw, and lays bare the dirty consequences of political decisions on the lowest rungs of the population. The character comes from darkness to fight through darkness to defeat more powerful darkness…. Chambers gives a great thriller-mystery story and dares to embrace different ways of telling it.” —Jay Wilburn, author, The Dead Song Legend “In Washington, D.C., a Black man living in a homeless camp near the Smithsonian is framed for the murder of two of his closest friends. He faces life in prison. But when he meets an ex-Homeland Security Secretary, things start turning around. Sort of. He can avoid the life sentence—if he helps the former government official find a missing woman using the network of the streets and the underground world of undocumented immigrants.” —Betches "Chambers is a talented storyteller and is slick and savage in his delivery...Now he delivers another scary world, scarier still because of the many truths that will resonate long after you read the final word." —Dolores Barclay, former Arts Editor, The Associated Press “Chris Chambers’s Scavenger is a clever mystery told with wry wit and a vivid second-person style that straps you in for its roller coaster ride. You open this book and that voice starts speaking to you and you want to hear what it has to say. Simply put: this is a damn a good read.” —Mat Johnson, author of Incognegro, Pym and Loving Day “Christopher Chambers never disappoints. The adrenaline hits the reader on page 1 and doesn't let up for, oh, 350 pages. Scavenger is witty, profane, propulsive, and gripping. It turns DC into a hardboiled wonderland." —Victor LaValle, New York Times bestselling author, The Changeling “Chris Chambers has created a wholly original character that exists in a world at once familiar but startlingly brutal.” —S. A. Cosby author, Blacktop Wasteland “SCAVENGER is as hard and unflinching as noir gets—an immersive portrait of life on the streets in Trump’s America. Yet, in the person of Dickie Cornish, Chambers has delivered a voice of idiomatic, hard-won radiance—and a truth-seeker equal to all the lies and all that lies ahead.” —Louis Bayard, author, Roosevelt's Beast and Mr. Timothy “Literary cinema verite, Chambers delivers a sly, slick and twisty hardcore mystery well worth the read.” —Gary Phillips, author, Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem “Chambers comes out of the box swinging hard in this fast-moving, down-and-dirty crime novel that kicks up the tarp on the sleazy, duplicitous, double-dealing underbelly of our nation’s capital. Into this shadowy knot of deceit walks unconventional detective, Dickie Cornish, a homeless, down on his luck survivor for whom the stakes couldn’t be higher, or the risks greater. Two thumbs up for Chambers!” —Tracy Clark, author of Borrowed Time, winner of the G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award “Scavenger is a clever mystery told with wry wit and a vivid second-person style that straps you in for its roller coaster ride Simply put: this is a damn good read.” —Mat Johnson, author, Incognegro, Pym, and Loving Day “In SCAVENGER, Christopher Chambers shows us a Washington D.C. we've never seen through the eyes of a sleuth unlike any we've ever met. A harrowing noir odyssey through contemporary America." —Vince Keenan, Editor, Noir City magazine; co-author, Design for Dying and Script for Scandal
Richard "Dickie" Cornish came from a good home, attended college, and served in the Air Force, yet somehow ended up homeless, addicted to drugs and living in a makeshift tent in Washington, DC. He makes money by scavenging and clearing out the apartments of evicted tenants. In one such endeavor, he comes in contact with Jaime Bracht, a corrupt ex-head of Homeland Security. Bracht convinces Dickie to take experimental drugs to counter his addictions and use his street smarts and contacts to find Dickie's ex-girlfriend, Esmerelda (Esme), while earning some decent dollars for his work. As Dickie talks to his sources, he hears outrageous stories about Esme, ISIS, ICE and the stolen babies of detained illegals. He begins to wonder what Bracht, a high-powered white man, wants with whacked-out Esme, who reads tarot cards and dispenses Mayan magic. VERDICT Dickie's transformation from addict to totally logical "operative" is one of several implausible plot points. While the use of street vernacular in dialog is reasonable, its use in narrative, as well as overzealous use of italicized Spanish, makes the story difficult to understand. The characters are not fleshed out and the action, at times, is comical.