Walter Mosley, Known to Evil

£70.00 £65.00

Walter Mosley has long been regarded as a major member of the black literary community. He has written dozen Easy Rawlins mysteries and his latest creation, Leonid McGill has been hailed as a classic of contemporary noir. A key figure in the evolution of the modern post 90s detective novel. This is a rare signed limited edition.

In Stock: 2 available

Walter Mosley‘s first crime novel, Devil in a Blue Dress was immediately acclaimed as an important début. It was nominated for an Edgar and went on to win the Shamus Award and the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey Award. Mosley set his series of Easy Rawlins detective novels in the seamy side of Los Angeles – the place where riots broke out, racism was a daily occurrence and life was tough. Rawlins aspires to be a man with his own property and a good job, but is constantly undermined by social forces. He is at the centre of the divide between white and black, middle-class and blue collar values and the alternative underground world beyond the law. The simple tropes of the detective novel are not the focus, but an ever wider scope of issues that examine hypocrisy, authority and the social order – sometimes with different viewpoints. 

One might argue that Mosley is in the Black American tradition of Chester Himes, with a literary nod to James Baldwin; the black heroes in Ragtime ( E L Doctorow) and A House for Mr Biswas (V S Naipaul) may also have an influence. Certainly, social satire and comic takes are to be found and relished. But this is crime fiction, and US crime at that – a space where violence as well as misfortune are present. Together with James Ellroy, George Pelecanos and perhaps in a different way, James Lee Burke, Mosley contributed to the contemporary noir genre and some would say set his own agenda.

This is the second NY PI Leonid McGill mystery, an unusual hero of our times. To quote the author’s website synopsis:Leonid McGill has been hired by New York City’s ultimate power broker, Alfonse Rinaldo, the fixer who seems to control every little thing that happens in New York City, has a problem that even he can’t fix. What Rinaldo can’t handle on his own, Leonid doesn’t really want to know. But he’s a client you can’t say no to, and so McGill sets off to track down a a young woman for reasons no one will explain to him. Everyone’s motives are murky in McGill’s world; that, he’s used to. What he’s not quite accustomed to is his own recent commitment to the straight and narrow, a path that still seems to lead him directly to the city’s crookedest corners and down its darkest alleys, where his most unsavoury acquaintances become his most cherished allies. In Known to Evil, Mosley shows us New York City as we’ve never seen it before, emphatically confirming his own reputation and firmly establishing Leonid McGill as one of the mystery world’s most iconic, charismatic leading men”.

Gary Phillips, another black mystery writer was asked to do the appreciation to this edition of 66 numbered and signed copies in a special binding.

4.00 out of 5

2 reviews for Walter Mosley, Known to Evil

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rating by Farah Ng on Goodreads on July 7, 2012 :

    Walter Mosley is is highly praised for a number of things: 1) for being a bad-ass black writer, 2) for writing about horrific crimes and 3) for being one of the best American writers of all time.

    I can confirm that all three of these praises are true! Known to Darkness features a black detective named Leonid McGill who straddles the line of legality dangerously. Involved with the deepest, darkest (I’m not referring to skin colour) criminals, Leonid also has friends in the police and enemies everywhere.

    Mosley goes where no one dares go by actually talking about being black. Leonid plays into the stereotypes where it’s convenient because people love when their expectations are reconfirmed. Only Leonid uses all his criminal skills (lying, beating and smiling) to save a girl that a mob boss has asked him to protect at all costs. The twist is that Leonid has no idea how this mob boss knows this girl or if he will hurt her. Oh, and he’s also not allowed to speak to the girl.

    What makes Mosley an amazing writer is that he can write well about horrific murders, underworld criminals and the every day nuances of life. From describing a mutilated body to how his cheating wife’s lipstick is smudged, Mosley does it with such care and flair. I will definitely read another book in the Leonid McGill series.

  2. 3 out of 5

    Rating by Kirkus Reviews on July 7, 2012 :

    An offer he can’t refuse leads Leonid McGill (The Long Fall, 2009, etc.) on a grim tour that takes him from New York’s executive suites to its lowest dives.

    Alphonse Rinaldo, special assistant to the City of New York, wants information he can’t be seen to want. He needs discreet inquiries made about Angelique Tara Lear so that he can rest assured that she’s doing all right. Through his legman, Sam Strange, he engages soiled ex-fixer McGill for the job, and a bevy of police cars around Angie’s building instantly informs McGill that she’s not a bit all right. FIT student/cocktail waitress Wanda Soa has been shot to death inside Angie’s apartment, presumably by the unknown heavy who was fatally stabbed around the same time. The discovery launches McGill into a free-wheeling investigation in which he bounces like a pinball from high-priced lawyers to building supers to sex-slavers, all the while pretending to more identities than can be found in the Manhattan phone directory. His inquiries are frequently interrupted by his continued struggles to rescue Ron Sharkey, a businessman he’d framed years ago, from the dire consequences of his years in prison, and his frazzled attempts to deal with his unfaithful wife and wayward sons, who make his domestic life just as chaotic as his professional life. This time, however, these sidelights provide ballast for a case whose complications are so labyrinthine that you’ll need a score card to keep track of the suspects, motives and incidental felonies.

    A rich collection of individual scenes and people as memorable as the tangled plot is forgettable. Kirkus Reviews

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