Gary Phillips draws on his experiences, from working for a political action committee to delivering dog cages, in writing his tales of chicanery and malfeasance.
His literary work has included many crime novels, graphic novels (including one about a money launderer, The Rinse), and short stories in anthologies such as The Green Hornet Casefiles and Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar.
He also co-edited the recent incendiary collection Send My Love and a Molotov Cocktail! He writes regularly about a bunch of stuff on fourstory.org, and you can visit his website at: www.gdphillips.com.
An Interview with Gary Phillips
Michael Haskins, Key West-based author of Chasin' the Wind (Five Star) and other mysteries, took time to interview Gary Phillips for the January edition of the International Thriller Writers' on-line publication, The Big Thrill.
TREACHEROUS: GRIFTERS, RUFFIANS AND KILLERS, the short stories of Gary Phillips, is a new collection from Perfect Crime Books that brings together for the first time the various tales of chicanery and odd goings on the veteran mystery writer has produced over the years. For instance in “The Thrill is Gone” (from SEX, LIES AND PRIVATE EYES), a hitman rescued from the agonies of Hell is a reluctant envoy sent back to Earth to dispatch evil for Heaven; in “Roger Crumbler Considers His Shave” (from LOS ANGELES NOIR), a mild-mannered middle-aged accountant on his birthday contemplates much more than having a second slice of cake; and in “Branded” (from FLESH AND BLOOD: EROTIC TALESS OF CRIME AND PASSION) a philandering husband wakes after a night of debauchery with a tattoo in a . . . rather uncomfortable location that will be hard to explain to his out-of-town wife.
“As a writer you learn a lot when you have to write a short story. Establishing your characters, setting the plot in motion, and, if the crick don’t rise, delivering the big punch in the end, well, there’s no room for error. You gotta make that story work in an efficient and entertaining manner. Hopefully readers will agree if they give this collection a try,” Phillip says of his writing. “I enjoy telling stories in various medium about various characters.”
Phillips lives in Los Angeles and is best known for his novels and short stories featuring PI Ivan Monk. He has worked a lot of different gigs in his time: a graveyard shift security guard, a printer, a union organizer, co-director of the MultiCultural Collaborative (a nonprofit set-up to improve race relations after the ’92 LA riots) and as political director of a city council campaign. He writes on politics and pop culture for publications such as the Los Angeles Times, LA Watts Times, Rap Pages, San Francisco Examiner, Freestyle and Black Scholar. He occasionally loses money at the poker table, watches his kids play sports, and finds that walking the dog is a fine excuse to light up a stogie.
“Ultimately I write the stories I want to read,” Phillips said of his short fiction.“I am mindful of critiques of my work, at least the ones that are constructive, and try to improve my craft in whatever it is I’m writing. Writing can seem like a long slog at times but often getting to the end of a story, that is after rewrites and edits, there can be a great sense of satisfaction as well.”
The collection of eclectic stories spans nine years of Phillips’s writing for such magazines as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, books including Dublin Noir and Black Noir, and a number of anthologies.
"This isn't a book you'd want to give to your best friend who loves cozies . . . a collection full of the real hardboiled thing."
Bill Crider, Mystery Scene
Here, from an extraordinary writer equally at home in California noir and bayou dope deals (with zombies), is a sharp, profane and stunning collection of short fiction.
As NPR said, some of these crime stories would cause Nancy Drew to faint into her plate of cucumber tea sandwiches.
"Highly entertaining selections... spotlight the hip urban scene Phillips has made his own....Those looking for a fun romp amid crime and killers will be satisfied." Publishers Weekly "" TREACHEROUS GARY PHILLIPS 230 PAGES TRADE PAPERBACK $14.95 ISBN: 978-1-935797-20-3