Gar Anthony Haywood

Haywood (1954 —  )  is the best of the younger writers vying to take up the mantle of Walter Mosely, as the latter moved on to new genres and projects. Haywood’s detective Aaron Gunner operates from an office behind a Watts barber-shop in Fear of the Dark (1989) and All the Lucky Ones are Dead {2000). These novels are more driven by dialog and less violent than Mosley’s.  He claims inspiration by Ross Macdonald.

Haywood held a job as a computer-service technician for nearly twenty years while launching his career. Writing in the New York Times, Stewart Kellerman found some flaws in dialogue and prose in Fear of the Dark, a bar slaying tale with links to the Black Panther movement, but asserted that “Haywood’s wit overcomes much of the awkwardness.” Kellerman also noted that “there’s a nice twist at the end, just when readers may be getting smug.”

Haywood digressed from the detective novel in the mid-1990s to write about a pair of African-American retirees, Joe and Dottie Loudermilk, who traGar_Anthony_Haywoodvel the United States in their Airstream trailer. “I wanted to do a second series because I didn’t want my character to get stale,” Haywood told American Visions writer Carolyn Tillery. In Going Nowhere Fast, Joe, a former police officer and his college-professor wife encounter the youngest and most troubled of their five children, Bad Dog, at the Grand Canyon, to which he has been followed by an avenging ex-football player.

Though amusing — think Carl Hiaasen — the non-detective books are not quite as good as the Aaron Gunner series:

  • Fear of the Dark, St. Martin’s Press, 1987.
  • Not Long for This World, St. Martin’s Press, 1990.
  • You Can Die Trying, St. Martin’s Press, 1993.
  • It’s Not a Pretty Sight, Putnam, 1996.
  • When Last Seen Alive, Putnam, 1997.
  • All the Lucky Ones Are Dead, Putnam, 2000.