Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Fear of the Dark - Walter Mosley

Fear of the Dark
Walter Mosley
Little, Brown and Company


All mild-mannered Paris Minton wants is to be left alone to run his bookstore in peace. In 1956 Watts, that peace is becoming ever more strained and precious. So when his cousin, Ulysses S. Grant IV (known familiarly as “Useless”) comes knocking on his door, saying that he needs help getting out of yet another jam that is, in some way, not his fault, Paris does the only sensible thing: He keeps the door closed.

When Useless’ mother, Three Hearts, arrives some time later, asking Paris to help find her son, he can’t refuse her. Naturally, he enlists the help of friend Fearless Jones. The two reluctant knights descend into the underground of 1950s Los Angeles, finding more than they want, and less than they’d like.

Walter Mosley’s depth and breadth as an author is astounding. Here, he combines the percolating racial tensions of Watts in the 50s with the tensions and loyalties that exist within every family, no matter where or when. The spare prose and style perfectly counterpoint the essentially noir adventure. The author takes care to draw parallels between the men and mythic figures, but he needn’t have bothered. Most of us are already with him on that score.

Rating: 9
October 2006
ISBN# 0-316-73458-6 (hardcover)


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