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The Underbelly

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  35 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Providing insight on homelessness, political corruption, and the potential effects of gentrification, this urban noir tells the tough story of Magrady, a semi-homeless Vietnam veteran in Los Angeles. As he searches for a friend who has gone missing from Skid Row and who may be involved in a dangerous scheme, Magrady must deal with take-no-prisoners community organizers, an ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published September 1st 2010 by PM Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Adam Morales
Jun 25, 2012 Adam Morales rated it really liked it
Whenever crafting a novel, character development must be at the forefront of the authors mind, as believable or relatable characters help the reader become involved in the story. In the novel, The Underbelly, author Gary Phillips does a great job at creating a very real and very relevant Magrady. As a Vietnam vet, the protagonist is searching for a friend and for answers, all the while dealing with his own sobriety, his damage from the war, and his accelerating age. I like how he author shows ...more
Barry Graham
Jun 05, 2011 Barry Graham rated it it was amazing
Gary Phillips is one of the royal family of ghetto lit. He has written novels, short stories and comic books, and has collaborated on a book with the rapper Ice-T. His tales are brutal and funny, and there is no better chronicler of the contemporary U.S.

The Underbelly may be his best book so far. Magrady is a semi-homeless, recovering alcoholic, post-traumatic stress-afflicted Vietnam veteran doing his best to survive in Los Angeles. He's helped by such friends as his septuagenarian ex-movie sta
Aug 07, 2010 Andrea rated it it was amazing
This was a delight to edit, the language is pure South Central ghetto gold:

"Who you supposed to be, old school?" Savoirfaire taunted, flexing his shoulders and shifting his weight onto his back foot. "Captain America don't live here no more."
"I'm telling you it's through," Magrady repeated calmly, eyes moving from the man's hands to his face, locking onto the faux designer shades the discount desperado wore.
"You and Floyd are done."
"You his older brother, cousin, somethin' like that?"
Jun 25, 2012 Shauna rated it really liked it
PM Press's Outspoken Author series is well worth reading by every writer and reader of genre fiction. I give these brief books only four stars because the $12 asking price seems too high for what you get.
Josie Boyce
Sep 17, 2014 Josie Boyce rated it liked it
3.5 stars not three. Not quite as good as i wanted the book to be. Very likeable non cop/pi yet still a detective novel. The is kind of muted for me with the extended ending. Definitely worth a read if you like low key modern crime drama. Fast read, breezy dialogue and one great food description.
Dec 16, 2013 Megan rated it liked it
This was my first foray into crime noir, and I enjoyed it. I felt like I got to know LA a bit along the way. Fun, quick, and suspenseful - a worthwhile read. I probably would have enjoyed it even more were I more versed in the conventions of the genre.
Nov 13, 2013 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: bookcrossing, 2013
Noir with awesome, unlikely characters, set in contemporary LA.
Somehow very Chester Himes in style.
Really enjoyed it! Gritty, full of explorations of social justice vs gentrification. I don't usually read mysteries, but this was real enjoyable.
Douglas Cronk
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PM Press
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Feb 04, 2011
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Sep 16, 2015 Robert rated it it was amazing
Required reading for anyone who lives in Los Angeles. A terrific book by an amazing author.
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GARY PHILLIPS lives in Los Angeles and is best known for his novels and short stories featuring PI Ivan Monk. He has worked a lot of different gigs in his time: a graveyard shift security guard, a printer, a union organizer, co-director of the MultiCultural Collaborative (a nonprofit set-up to improve race relations after the ’92 LA riots) and as political director of a city council campaign. He ...more
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