Virgil Tibbs

7 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 32 ratings


A trailblazing series about a diligent, hardworking African American police detective’s fight for justice and battles against racism in civil rights-era South Carolina.

Virgil Tibbs is a highly intelligent, self-taught martial arts expert and seriously dedicated police detective. He’s not interested in glory, just justice and his duty. Begun in the 1960s, John Ball’s trailblazing series confronted the thorny issues of the day. While the stories reflect that era, the ongoing reality of racism and social injustice keeps these audiobooks timely.

Dion Graham’s narration captivates - and captures the tensions of its time. An accomplished actor, perhaps best known for his role on HBO’s The Wire, Graham evokes the tenor of the late 1960s and deftly navigates the contradictions within society, ensuring that the hero and his multi-ethnic supporting cast are all clearly portrayed. It’s easy to see why Graham has won so many narration awards - including an Earphones Award for book 4 in the Virgil Tibbs series, Five Pieces of Jade - and is recognized as an AudioFile Golden Voice. He captures every character and brings the listener fully into the story.

Classic crime fiction fans will get caught up in thrillers whose hero paved the way for African American detectives such as James Patterson’s Alex Cross and George Pelecano’s Derek Strange. The series’ debut novel, In the Heat of the Night, was made into an Academy Award—winning movie (Best Picture, 1967), starring Sidney Poitier in a commanding performance as “Mister Tibbs”. The series later inspired a long-running (1988-1995) TV series with Howard Rollins in the lead role.

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