Chester Himes

Chester Himes was an African American writer known for his work in the crime fiction genre, particularly for his series of Harlem detective novels featuring the characters Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. He was born on July 29, 1909, in Jefferson City, Missouri, and passed away on November 12, 1984. Himes's writing is celebrated for its gritty portrayal of black urban life and its satirical take on race relations in America.


This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Blind Man with a Pistol

    In the heart of Harlem, a blind man shoots his pistol aimlessly, setting off a series of chaotic events. Two detectives are tasked with investigating the resulting crimes, which include a restaurant bombing and a murder. The narrative is filled with dark humor, social commentary, and vivid descriptions of Harlem life, as the detectives navigate the complexities of their community and the absurdity of their situation.

  2. 2. If He Hollers Let Him Go

    Set in Los Angeles during World War II, the novel follows the life of an African-American shipyard worker who is battling racial tensions and discrimination. The protagonist, constantly living in fear of being falsely accused of a crime because of his race, is also dealing with a complicated relationship with a white woman, further complicating his life. The book explores the themes of race, class, and the psychological effects of racism and discrimination.