The best books featuring Black private eyes

The Books I Picked & Why

Runner

By Tracy Clark

Book cover of Runner

Why 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.  


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Warn Me When It's Time

By Cheryl A. Head

Book cover of Warn Me When It's Time

Why 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.


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Pursuit of the Truth

By K.D. Richards

Book cover of Pursuit of the Truth

Why 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.


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August Snow

By Stephen Mack Jones

Book cover of August Snow

Why 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.


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And Now She's Gone

By Rachel Howzell Hall

Book cover of And Now She's Gone

Why 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.


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