The best books featuring Black private eyes

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nerd by temperament (raised by a psychologist and a librarian, what else could I be?) and by profession (decades working as a U.S. diplomat and an academic administrator honed my people-watching faculties to a fine edge). So, of course, I’ve always been drawn to my opposite: that cynical loner whose pursuit of justice requires hard fists and a bent moral compass. Private eye mysteries are my perfect place. In them, I can exercise my passion for intellectual puzzles and my love for thrilling action. I enjoy the combination of social commentary and sheer entertainment I find when I dive into reading (or writing) a private eye mystery.

I wrote...

Murder Take Two

By Delia C. Pitts,

Book cover of Murder Take Two

What is my book about?

When cynical private eye SJ Rook is hired to guard the set of a hot new television show filming on the streets of Harlem, he expects his toughest challenge to be corralling star-struck fans. But the detective’s brush with Hollywood glamour quickly turns dark. On the last night of filming, murder writes a grim finale to the production.

With his client dead, Rook’s pursuit of the truth begins. Hampered by remorse, he battles a secretive killer whose motives are hidden in plain sight. The tragic past of an alluring actress and Rook’s own unspoken desires complicate his hunt. Distracted by stardust, the detective’s struggle to sort fact from fiction takes on deadly urgency when the killer makes Rook the last target.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Runner

Delia C. Pitts Why did I love this book?

I grew up on the great South Side of Chicago, so Tracy Clark’s vibrant portrayal of the bitter cold of my city’s winter struck home with me. The icy conditions form a perfect setting for PI Cass Raines’ increasingly desperate hunt for a missing girl. Raines battles corrupt city officials, suspicious teenagers, indifferent cops, and the brutal blizzard to find her client’s daughter. This is the latest in the series, but it’s a deft and polished novel that stands on its own.  

By Tracy Clark,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Runner as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Exceptional…The action builds to an exciting showdown. Those who like their crime novels with a social conscience will be amply rewarded.” —Publishers Weekly, STARRED review

Former homicide cop turned private investigator Cass Raines gets the job done in this page-turning Chicago-set novel from award-winning author Tracy Clark. For mystery/suspense fans as well as fans of Laura Lippman.
Chicago in the dead of winter can be brutal, especially when you’re scouring the frigid streets for a missing girl. Fifteen-year-old Ramona Titus has run away from her foster home. Her biological mother, Leesa Evans, is a recovering addict who admits she failed…

Book cover of Warn Me When It's Time

Delia C. Pitts Why did I love this book?

I love a private eye series because the discoveries I make as a reader about the flawed character of the PI mirror the journey the central character makes over the course of several books. In this masterful series, Cheryl Head creates a PI you want to root for: Charlene “Charlie” Mack. Charlie leads her own Detroit investigation firm and relies on a motley team of experts, each with their own quirks and strengths. In this book, Charlie faces down a widespread conspiracy with anti-Muslim hate crimes at its core. Like many of the private eye novels I admire, this one delves into contemporary social issues with a sharp eye for nuance and realism without skimping on the entertainment and action.

By Cheryl A. Head, Cheryl A. Head,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Warn Me When It's Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A hate group operating in Oakland County, Michigan has claimed responsibility for a six-month-long string of arson fires and robberies at mosques, temples, and black churches around Detroit, eluding police and federal agencies. The most recent fire, at a mosque in Dearborn, kills a respected imam. His children—suspicious of law enforcement’s treatment of Muslims and afraid of reprisal—hire Charlie Mack and her team of investigators to find their father’s murderers. The Mack team begins to hunt down the clues in this local hate crime, but they aren’t prepared when they realize that those clues are pointing to a widespread conspiracy…

Book cover of Pursuit of the Truth

Delia C. Pitts Why did I love this book?

This first-in-series thriller revved my engine with its fun combination of action and romance. New Yorker Ryan West is an expert in personal protection who runs his own security firm. But he wasn’t prepared for the personal fall-out from falling for the tough-minded hotel boss he’s hired to guard. She’s brainy and resourceful, the kind of modern-day princess who can save herself but doesn’t mind engaging with a dashing prince of a private eye.

By K.D. Richards,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Pursuit of the Truth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Her secrets could get them killed...

After hotel CEO Nadia Shelton barely escapes an attack, security expert Ryan West realises someone will kill to find the brother Nadia thought was dead. And the only way Ryan can protect her as they uncover the truth, is to stay strictly professional. But the sparks igniting between them refuse to be ignored...

Book cover of August Snow

Delia C. Pitts Why did I love this book?

Ex-cop August Snow scrabbles through the rubble of his beloved Detroit to solve a twisted murder case no one wants him to pursue. Snow is everything I like in my PIs: witty, empathetic, combat-ready, and damaged by life’s cruel blows. The action is extremely gritty, the social commentary dark and biting. The flavorful descriptions of Snow’s Mexicantown neighborhood and its contrast with the snooty suburbs tugged at my Midwestern heart.

By Stephen Mack Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked August Snow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Hammett Prize and the Nero Award

From the wealthy suburbs to the remains of Detroit’s bankrupt factory districts, August Snow is a fast-paced tale of murder, greed, sex, economic cyber-terrorism, race and urban decay.

Tough, smart, and struggling to stay alive, August Snow is the embodiment of Detroit. The son of an African-American father and a Mexican-American mother, August grew up in the city’s Mexicantown and joined the police force only to be drummed out by a conspiracy of corrupt cops and politicians. But August fought back; he took on the city and got himself a $12…

Book cover of And Now She's Gone

Delia C. Pitts Why did I love this book?

Los Angeles investigator Grayson Sykes is hired to track down a missing woman who may have disappeared for excellent reasons. As she digs into the secrets and betrayals surrounding her quarry, Gray uncovers unexpected commonalities with the missing woman. I enjoyed the intricate dance between two damaged and complex women, a dance that kept me shifting my loyalties and sympathies as the mystery deepened.

By Rachel Howzell Hall,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked And Now She's Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Sharp, witty and perfectly paced, And Now She’s Gone is one hell of a read!” ―Wendy Walker, bestselling author of The Night Before

Isabel Lincoln is gone.

But is she missing?

It’s up to Grayson Sykes to find her. Although she is reluctant to track down a woman who may not want to be found, Gray’s search for Isabel Lincoln becomes more complicated and dangerous with every new revelation about the woman’s secrets and the truth she’s hidden from her friends and family.

Featuring two complicated women in a dangerous cat and mouse game, Rachel Howzell Hall's And Now She’s…

You might also like...

Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

Book cover of Saving Raine

Marian L Thomas

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Saving Raine is a captivating tale of resilience, redemption, and the enduring power of love, penned by the acclaimed author Marian L. Thomas.

This contemporary fiction novel chronicles the compelling journey of Raine Reynolds as she confronts heartache, betrayal, and loss. Against the vibrant backdrops of Atlanta and Paris, Raine's story unfolds as she grapples with the aftermath of her husband's infidelity and tragic passing.

Through poignant prose and compelling characters, "Saving Raine" delves into themes of forgiveness, healing, and the strength discovered in confronting life's greatest challenges. Readers will be captivated by Raine's emotional odyssey as she unearths hope, redemption, and the courage to embrace a brighter future.

Saving Raine

By Marian L Thomas,

What is this book about?

Raine Reynolds stands at the crossroads of despair and opportunity.
When the life you've built crumbles and the past refuses to release its grip, sometimes you need a fresh start-a new beginning that promises hope and redemption.
Once a celebrated author, Raine's life unraveled, sending her fleeing to the picturesque streets of Paris to escape the tormenting heartache that threatened to consume her. Yet, no matter how far she traveled, the pain remained her unwelcome companion.
Returning to bustling Atlanta as a senior VP for an ad agency, Raine is forced to confront a city steeped in…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in private investigators, brothers, and Michigan?

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