How does witnessing a crime change a person? This powerful collection of stories by a star-studded roster of contributors examines this very question, with proceeds benefitting the Alliance for Safe Traffic Stops.
Inspired by recent true events, the all-original stories in Witnesses for the Dead are set in motion by the act of witnessing. The characters who populate these pages are not themselves the perpetrators of the crimes they see, but as they grapple with what to do—take action or retreat into the shadows—their lives are indelibly changed.
In “Envy” by Christopher Chambers, a sweet, shy wallflower looks on as something horrific happens in his neighborhood—revealing something horrific about himself. Agatha Award–winner Richie Narvaez’s “The Gardener of Roses” sees a Puertorriqueña college student on the run from the FBI for her accidental involvement in a “terrorist” plot. Anthony Award–winner Gary Phillips confronts police corruption in “Spiders and Fly.” And the protagonist of “A Family Matter” by IPPY Award–winner Sarah M. Chen investigates the murder of a stranger, leading her to question the political structure of Taiwan entirely. Other stories feature a brothel, the film industry, immigrant detention centers at the Mexico-US border, World War II–torn France, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The stories are incisive, unflinching, wry, dark, and, in some cases, terrifying. You’ll ask yourself: If I saw what they saw, what would I do?
Edited by Anthony Award–winner Gary Phillips and Shamus Award–winner Gar Anthony Haywood, the collection includes contributions from NAACP Image Award–winner Pamela Samuels Young, New York Times bestsellers Cara Black and Tod Goldberg, Edgar Award–winner SJ Rozan, Agatha Award–winner Richie Narvaez, and more.
About the Author
Gary Phillips has published novels, comics, novellas, short stories and edited anthologies, including the Anthony-winning The Obama Inheritance. Violent Spring, his 1994 debut, was recently named one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. He was also a story editor on Snowfall, an FX show about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central, where he grew up.
Gar Anthony Haywood is the Shamus and Anthony Award–winning author of fourteen novels, including the Aaron Gunner private eye series and Joe and Dottie Loudermilk mysteries. His short fiction has been included in the Best American Mystery Stories anthologies and he has written for network television and both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times. He and his wife, Donna, make their home in Denver, Colorado.
Praise for Witness for the Dead: Stories
“Explores the ramifications of bearing witness to terrible crimes.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Marvelously unique premise supported by equally marvelous stories. I think it's the best short story anthology I've read in ages. Especially fond of co-editor Gary Phillips's 'Spider and Fly,' but you can't go wrong with any of these stories.” —Joe R. Lansdale
“The 14 stories in this strong all-original anthology from Phillips (The Obama Inheritance) and Haywood (the Aaron Gunner series) focus on witnesses to crimes who, as the editors point out in their introduction, 'take the initiative to see that the guilty are punished and the victims receive justice.' . . . These tales put a gimlet eye on the satisfying rewards of retribution.” —Publishers Weekly