The authors to be studied, and their particular series, are introduced as follows: James Ellroy (The LA Quartet), James Lee Burke (‘Dave Robicheaux’ novels), Walter Mosley (‘Easy Rawlins’ novels), Sara Paretsky (‘V.I. Warshawski’ novels), George Pelecanos (‘The Nick Stefanos Trilogy’). The works are argued to fall within the ‘anti-detective’ category, and to demonstrate evidence of moral decline in contemporary American life that bears out the contentions behind George Packer’s sociological study The Unwinding: An Inter History of the new America. Revenge becomes the primary method of achieving justice in this ‘New America’. The study ranges over four cities: Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, and Washington, DC.