Before Walter Mosley, Colson Whitehead or Valerie Wilson Wesley there was Chester Himes. His novels have been signatures of Black crime noir novels.
Himes used writing as a form of therapy; focusing on the struggles of Black male characters that ranged from losers or victims defeated by Whites to strong men who occasionally triumphed over obstacles. Racial conflict was always is a central theme. In his second autobiographical volume, My Life of Absurdity, he argued that racism not only psychologically damages Blacks but also causes bizarre events in their lives. -Michael Marsh