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The Darkest Hearts


Trap music, human trafficking, malt liquor, and the tyranny of President Trump collide in the fifth installment of Nelson George’s D Hunter mystery series.

*Please note, if you’re using Nelson’s friends and family discount code, the discount applies to paperback books only.

$16.95 $12.71

What people are saying…

“Once again, my brother Nelson George comes through in the clutch like he’s batting clean-up. I’ve known Nelson over thirty years and he has been our cultural storyteller for that length of time. Keep telling. Keep writing our stories. I know I will keep reading them too.”
Spike Lee, filmmaker

“George’s passion for, and encyclopedic knowledge of, hip-hop suffuses every word of this smart, stylish novel. Although the author deftly deals with issues of predatory capitalism, government corruption, and the senseless murder of black men by America’s cops, it’s his handling of the tale’s sex trafficking and #MeToo subplots that deserves special acclaim.”
Mystery Scene Magazine

One of CrimeReads‘s 10 Novels to Read in August 2020

“The undisputed charm of the series is how it not only reveals the souls of those who, in a way, are reminiscent of Iceberg Slim and Donald Goines, but goes further by validating urban America’s importance and reach to a world determined to diminish its creators and its people.”
MIA Magazine

“Smart . . . This action-packed crime novel both educates and entertains.”
Publishers Weekly

“We’re big fans of music mysteries here at CrimeReads, so I’m psyched for the new Nelson George . . . A complex mystery that should serve as the perfect quarantine distraction.”
CrimeReads, One of the Most Anticipated Crime Books of 2020

“This dark, rollicking mystery is the fifth in George’s D Hunter series . . . D’s point of view, his self-confessed vulnerability, and his deep appreciation for music, from R&B on, make this thoroughly satisfying reading.”

“A showcase of different approaches to values, business, and hip-hop seen through a lens that feels personal.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Former bodyguard D Hunter has moved from New York City to L.A., where he has become a successful talent manager. His past comes back to haunt him when a body discovered off a Brooklyn pier ties him to a retired hit man, and an FBI agent wants to talk with him.”
Publishers Weekly, included in Fall 2020 Announcements (Mysteries & Thrillers)

“Nelson George’s The Darkest Hearts: A D Hunter Mystery stars a talent-manager protagonist encountering human trafficking, reactionary politics, and a dead body near the Canarsie Pier.”
Library Journal, selected by Barbara Hoffert as a 2020 Title to Watch

Praise for the D Hunter Mystery Series:

“D Hunter is as world weary, yet steadfast, as Philip Marlowe, Spenser, Dave Robicheaux, or Easy Rawlins.”
Library Journal, Starred review, Pick of the Month

“[W]ritten in the spirit of authors such as Walter Mosley and Donald Goines . . . The book blends music from the past with thug appeal of the present to appeal to young and old alike.”
Baltimore Times, on The Lost Treasures of R&B

“Inventive and well-written . . . I really enjoyed To Funk and Die in LA.”
—Don Winslow, author of Savages


*Please note, if you’re using Nelson’s friends and family discount code, the discount applies to paperback books only.

Former bodyguard D Hunter has moved to Los Angeles to become a talent manager. Business is good: he has signed a hot Atlanta rapper named Lil Daye for management and negotiated a lucrative endorsement with a liquor band. However, when D learns of the liquor CEO’s unsavory sexual habits and reactionary political views, he worries that he has sold his soul.

Back in Brooklyn, a body has been found in the waters near the Canarsie Pier, a body that connects D and the retired hit man Ice to incidents from back in The Plot Against Hip Hop, the second book in the series. Because of this discovery, an FBI agent wants to speak to D, which is making Ice nervous. And Ice is not a man you want worrying about you.

Meanwhile in London, Serene Powers, a vigilante and sometime collaborator with D, breaks up a human trafficking ring. In the process, she makes some new, unlikely allies. When Serene returns to the US, D asks her for assistance with a sensitive and volatile matter in Atlanta involving Lil Daye, his wife, his mistress, and a thug on his payroll named Ant.

The Darkest Hearts reflects the challenges of being a black businessperson in an era when the rules of entrepreneurship are constantly shifting beneath an increasingly polarized political environment.

Read an essay, “Death Can’t Take the Stories Our Elders Pass On,” from Nelson George, at Level.

Read an excerpt from The Darkest Hearts at CrimeReads

Read a playlist by Nelson George, inspired by The Darkest Hearts, at Largehearted Boy‘s Book Notes.

Read an original piece by Nelson George on creating an in-series universe at CrimeReads.

Listen to a conversation between Nelson George and Melissa Kimble hosted by Greenlight Bookstore.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Published: 8/4/20
  • IBSN: 9781617758096
  • e-IBSN: 9781617758249
  • Hardcover
  • IBSN: 9781617758225


NELSON GEORGE is an author, filmmaker, and lifelong resident of Brooklyn. His books include the first four novels in his D Hunter mystery series: The Accidental Hunter, The Plot Against Hip Hop, The Lost Treasures of R&B, and To Funk and Die in LA, all available from Akashic Books. Among his many nonfiction works are The Death of Rhythm & Blues, Hip Hop America, and The Hippest Trip in America: Soul Train and the Evolution of Culture & Style. As a filmmaker he has directed the documentaries Brooklyn Boheme, Finding the Funk, and A Ballerina’s Tale. He was also a writer/producer on the Netflix series The Get Down. The Darkest Hearts is his latest novel.

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