Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

THE LONG FALL by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is one of my favorite authors and I generally pick up his books whenever they come out. However, my life is busy and I don’t always get to them right away. Then I can’t find them without digging through boxes of other purchases. When I couldn’t find my copy of The Long Fall, I gave up and went to the library and checked out an audiobook copy. I like audiobooks a lot too.

This book was a treat because it’s definitely Mosley doing what he does best, but there was also the added bonus of Mirron Willis doing the reading. Willis has got a great voice and he’s a solid vocal performer, managing to give all the characters (including the women) their own sound. A quick check showed me that Willis has done the new two volumes in the Leonid McGill series as well, so I’m really torn between listening to the next book or reading in.

The Long Fall is the start of a new series for Mosley. What’s interesting is that he was living in New York while he was doing the Easy Rawlins series set in Los Angeles, and now he’s doing a New York based series while living in Los Angeles. Maybe the heart just wants what it wants?

Either way, Mosley’s view of New York is appealing and provocative. I have to say that, so far, I prefer Easy Rawlins’s world in the 1940s to 1960s, but I’m just getting settled into the lifestyle of Leonid McGill, a fascinating private eye with a dark history.

The first book presents McGill in a quandary. He’s been hired to discover the identity of four young men, but he doesn’t know why. Unfortunately, he’s been caught short on cash, so taking the job even after the hinky feeling doesn’t work. He has to come through. When one of the guys he located goes on the lam and later turns up dead, McGill can’t help but wonder what he unleashed by finding those men. And he feels responsible.

At the same time that McGill is dealing with that, things at home aren’t doing so well either. The complicated family is a Mosley standard, but one that I enjoy a lot. Other readers as familiar with Mosley as I am are going to see Easy’s adopted son Juice (Jesus) in McGill’s son, Twill. The comparison is an easy one to make, except that Twill is a lot more talkative than Juice ever was. But their hearts beat the same.

McGill is also a man, like Easy, who doesn’t have an easy path to love. His wife has cheated on him constantly in the past. She’ll probably cheat on him again in the future. But for the moment he’s trying to work things out with her on some level for their three children.

This book reminded me a lot of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe books, and I’m sure it was supposed to do that. But it made me think of Ross MacDonald’s Lew Archer stories as well. Both of those are good company to keep, and I’m looking forward to the next book in this series.


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