“A magnificent collection.” —S.A. Cosby, best-selling author, Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland

“An incredible read!” —Rachel Howzell Hall, New York Times and Wall Sreet Journal bestselling author

“Few people know pulp like Gary Phillips, who is not only a student of the genre, but a master.” —Alex Segura, best-selling award-winning author, Secret Identity

Award-winning author, screenwriter, and editor Gary Phillips gathers his most thrilling, outlandish, and madcap pulp fiction in an 17-story collection that straddles the line between bizarro, science fiction, noir, and superhero classics. Aztec vampires, astral projecting killers, oxygen stealing bombs, undercover space rangers, aliens occupying Los Angeles, right wing specters haunting the ’hood, masked vigilantes and mad scientists in their underground lairs plotting world domination populate the stories in this rip-snorting collection. In these pages grindhouse melds with blaxploitation along with strong doses of B movie hardcore drive-in fare. Phillips, editor of the Anthony Award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir, and author of One-Shot Harry, and Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem, said this about pulp. “The most common definition of pulp is it’s fast-paced, a story containing out there characters and a wild plot. There is that. But certainly, as we’ve now arrived at the era of retro-pulp, these stories have elements of characterization…not just action but a glimpse behind the steely eyes of these doers of incredible deeds.” As an added bonus, Phillips resurrects Phantasmo, a Golden Age comics character created by Black artist-writer E.C. Stoner in an all-new outing of ethereal doings.

978-1-953103-36-9336 Pages | TRP-105 | Trade Paper | $16.00
Pub Date: 10/10/23

Purchase direct from Three Rooms Press here.

Or pick up your copy wherever fine books are sold, including:

For review copies, to set up an interview with the author, or for further information, please email Peter Carlaftes via peter@threeroomspress.com.


The Unvarnished Gary Phillips is a fabulous exploration of the career of a true trailblazer in the crime fiction universe. Gary paved the way for a lot of us writers of color with his fearless artistry and sharp dialogue and his endless wit and wisdom. A magnificent collection.” —S.A. Cosby, best-selling author, Razorblade Tears and Blacktop Wasteland

The Unvarnished Gary Phillips is a blast of a collection by the wizard of pulpy crime stories set in the past and far into the future. Phillips gives us smart-ass characters punching their way through kick-ass action scenes. An incredible read!” —Rachel Howzell Hall, New York Times and Wall Sreet Journal bestselling author

“Gary’s  collection of stories range  from boxers and human sacrifice, to “coloreds” in speed racing, to  an evil astral projectionist, strains of Dean Martin and blonde ghosts, Buck Rogers space battles, and a  Trumpian cabal enforcing herd immunity. The stories are chaotic, funny, insightful and faster than a blast of speeding bullets. Into pulp fiction?  Unvarnished is your Shangri La.” —Joe Ide, best-selling author, the IQ Series

“Pulp is the jazz of literature, and Gary Phillips is it’s impresario—riffing and improvising on themes from mean streets to the phantasmagorical in seventeen compositions designed to flip your wig!” —Christopher Chambers, author, Scavenger, Standalone

“Few people know pulp like Gary Phillips, who is not only a student of the genre, but a master. The Unvarnished Gary Phillips shows him in top form and with the verve and grit that are essential to the best pulp and hardboiled tales. I had a blast reading these. You will, too.” —Alex Segura, best-selling award-winning author, Secret Identity


For One-shot Harry 

“Terrific . . . What makes One-Shot Harry a standout is the cityscape of mid-century L.A it summons up — its music, chromium cars, hateful slurs, “invisible” racial boundaries and cautious hopes.” —NPR’s Fresh Air

“Phillips is a storyteller first, and the social chronicling never becomes didactic or overtakes the narrative. The wounds of 1963, and the foreshadowing of both better days and harsher ones, feel unnervingly fresh, and a reminder that progress, much as we wish otherwise, never adheres to a linear timeline.” The New York Times Book Review

For Matthew Henson and The Ice Temple of Harlem

“Along with the rampaging retro action, Phillips smoothly incorporates biting social commentary on the racism of the era. Henson is a terrific character, larger-than-life in a movie-serial way, and the story’s pacing is exquisite. The first installment in a projected series, this is a rousing adventure in the grand pulp tradition, a wildly entertaining extravaganza that almost demands to be filmed.”―Booklist (Starred)

“While the entertainment value is high in MATTHEW HENSON AND THE ICE TEMPLE OF HARLEM, Phillips shows the racism Henson encountered on a daily basis. With its echoes of the Doc Savage series and the Indiana Jones movies, MATTHEW HENSON AND THE ICE TEMPLE OF HARLEM should make for long-running series.” ―The South Florida Sun-Sentinel

For The Obama Inheritance, Winner of the 2018 Anthony Award and Bronze Medal Winner of the 2018 Foreword Indies Award for Best Anthology

“Resistance takes many forms, particularly in the current political climate. Few methods of protest are as cheerfully strange and purposefully bizarre as THE OBAMA INHERITANCE.―The Washington Post

“It’s a commonplace these days to say that real life has become so unpredictable that it outstrips anything anyone could dream up in fiction. I think I’m guilty of having made that banal observation a few times. But that was before I read The Obama Inheritance, a collection of 15 stories so sly, fresh and Bizarro World witty, they reaffirm the resiliency of the artistic imagination.” ―Maureen Corrigan, NPR Fresh Air

For Astonishing Heroes: Shades of Justice

Gary Phillips is the man. Writing short stories, comics and mysteries, this brother is well established in the game of publishing.. . . Hand-to-hand combat action, demons and magic to boot, internal dialogue, buckets of high-caliber bullets, plus scantily clad women and the heroes they love. Add a Black Dynamite blaxploitative filter and you’re in—leather jacket, politics, and all. Separating the activist from the writer isn’t how Phillips or his stories work.” —Ebony

“A riotous mix of tough guys, tough ladies, eccentric villains, Satanists, strippers, dominatrices, samurai, deposed Communist leaders, superheroes, robots, gadgets, clones, weird science, jazz, funk, drugs, kung fu, Fu Manchu mustaches, platform boots, afros, and sex. It’s a book for anyone who remains nostalgic for the golden age of Toei films, blaxploitation movies, and lusty grindhouse cinema.” —Superhero Novels


Gary Phillips

Gary Phillips has been a community activist, labor organizer and delivered dog cages. He’s published various novels, comics, short stories and edited several anthologies including South Central Noir and the Anthony award-winning The Obama Inheritance: Fifteen Stories of Conspiracy Noir. Violent Spring, first published in 1994 was named in 2020 one of the essential crime novels of Los Angeles. He was also a writer/co-producer on FX’s Snowfall (streaming on Hulu), about crack and the CIA in 1980s South Central where he grew up. Recent novels include One-Shot Harry and Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem. He lives with his family in the wilds of Los Angeles.

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