In the lively, but desperate world of D.C.'s underbelly, a Black homeless man must quickly learn the ropes of being a detective after a wealthy ex-government official sets him up to take the fall for a brutal crime he didn't commit. Christopher Chambers, author of A Prayer for Deliverance and Sympathy for the Devil (NAACP Image Award nominee) brings a 21st-century take on hardboiled noir tales in SCAVENGER, a gripping thriller underscored by themes of race, homelessness, hustling, and the savagery--and salvation--of the human psyche. The novel centers on Dickie Cornish, a Black streetwise survivor living in a homeless camp near D.C.'s Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Framed for the murder of two of his closest friends and facing life in prison, Dickie crosses paths with wealthy ex-Homeland Security Secretary, Jamie Bracht. Bracht offers him a chance at a new life if Dickie can navigate an underground world to uncover a prize Bracht will stop at nothing to acquire.
As Dickie searches, SCAVENGER tracks its way through an underground population of Washington, D.C., where hustlers, drug addicts, homeless, and undocumented immigrants jostle for crumbs while trying to survive. Chambers paints a portrait of D.C. from the ground up, with back-alley streetscapes, gentrification clashes, and unexpected encounters between politicians and bottom-rung natives--all set against a soundscape of patois, street Spanish, and D.C. slang. A hopeless amateur detective at first, Dickie quickly learns the ropes of being a sleuth in a cat-and-mouse game of greed, deceit, double-crossing, and murder. As Washington City Paper notes: Like Hammett with San Francisco or Chandler with Los Angeles, Chambers' mystery is as much about Washington as it is about the amoral monsters who prey on ordinary people and the lone gumshoe who takes them on."