African American Mystery and Crime Writers Highlighted During Black History Month

Published on Feb 1, 2021

February is Black History Month, and what better way to celebrate than by learning more about modern African American crime novelists and their journeys as authors.

Join the Pasadena Public Library on Wednesday, February 3, and three mystery and crime writers – Rachel Howzell Hall, Pamela Samuels Young, and Gary Phillips – all of them members of Sisters in Crime, Los Angeles Chapter.

Sisters in Crime is a group of authors, readers, publishers, agents, booksellers and librarians bound by their passion for the mystery genre and the support of women who write mysteries. The group welcomes mystery lovers from anywhere, who share an interest in the Los Angeles mystery community.

Rachel Howzell Hall’s most recent work is “And Now She’s Gone,” published by Forge Books. She is the author of the acclaimed Lou Norton series, the standalone thriller “They All Fall Down,” and co-author of “The Good Sister” with James Patterson, which appeared in the New York Times bestselling anthology The Family Lawyer. She is the senior development officer for the Donor Relations Department at Cedars Sinai.

Currently, she serves on the Board of Directors for the Mystery Writers of America, and has participated as a mentor in the Association of Writers and Writing Programs’ Writer-to-Writer Program. She lives in Los Angeles.

Pamela Samuels Young is an award-winning author of eight mystery novels including “Anybody’s Daughter,” “Buying Time,” “Every Reasonable Doubt,” “Unlawful Greed,” “Lawful Deception,” “Attorney-Client Privilege,” “In Firm Pursuit,” and “Murder on the Down Low,” as well as her most recent courtroom drama, “Abuse of Discretion.” Her thriller, “Anybody’s Daughter,” won the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Fiction and was a Top 10 pick by In the Margins, the best books for at-risk teens. The former journalist and retired lawyer is also a natural hair enthusiast and the author of “Kinky Coily: A Natural Hair Resource Guide.”

Young received her bachelor’s degree from USC and also earned graduate degrees from Northwestern University and UC Berkeley School of Law. The Compton native is a frequent speaker on the topics of sex trafficking, online safety, fiction writing, self-empowerment, and pursuing your passion.

Gary Phillips is a critically acclaimed author of mysteries and graphic novels. Raised in South Central Los Angeles, Phillips grew up reading comics, classic pulp and detective fiction, and the likes of Iceberg Slim and took inspiration from all this when he created his first series character, Ivan Monk, in the early 1990s. A private detective adept at navigating the racial tensions of modern L A and beyond, Monk has appeared in four novels and one short story collection, “Monkology” (2011).

Phillips introduced his second series character, Martha Chainey, in “High Hand” (2000), and followed that rollicking tale of a showgirl’s mafia troubles with another book and short story. Besides writing several stand alones like “The Jook” and “The Underbelly,” and editing anthologies such as “Orange County Noir,” Phillips has found success in the field of graphic novels, penning illustrated stories such as “The Rinse” and “High Rollers.”

When not writing, he spends his time smoking the occasional cigar and pondering why his poker abilities haven’t improved. Phillips continues to live and work in Los Angeles.

To register for this free online event, visit and click on the February 3, 4 p.m. tab. Fill out the form and submit online. A link to the Zoom will be sent to your email.

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