It's a tossup which gives more pleasure in Mosley's vibrant views of neighborhood life, the high-stepping, free-talking characters who bob and weave their way through this convoluted plot, or the colorful local haunts like Henrietta's Gumbo House where they do their shuckin' and jivin'. Marilyn Stasio
We've seen pictures of black and white, even brown and white Los Angeles from the '40s and '50s, but seldom from the inside out. In Fear Itself, Mosley taps into this world and shows us a city where opportunity is less than it seems and violence a measure of frustration. The sad thing is it's a picture of a city not unlike Los Angeles today. Thomas Curwen
With the publication of Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990, Mosley became one of the United States' best-known crime novelists. Few would have complained if he had chosen to write exclusively about Easy Rawlings, the cautious fixer he introduced in Devil. But Mosley is a restless, inquisitive writer. He has refused to be confined to one genre, much less one character. He has written science fiction, nonfiction and a well-regarded literary novel, RL's Dream. Paris Minton is his third protagonist within the crime genre, and while Paris has some obvious parallels to Easy, he is very much his own man. Laura Lippman
In this eagerly anticipated follow-up to Fearless Jones (2001), Watts bookstore owner Paris Minton and the dangerous but principled Fearless Jones tread the familiar territory mapped so successfully by Mosley's original detecting duo, Easy Rawlins and Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. The author depicts 1950s Los Angeles with his usual unerring accuracy, but a somewhat different dynamic drives his heroes. When Fearless drags the reluctant Paris into helping him look for Kit Mitchell (aka the Watermelon Man), their quest turns quickly murderous. Timid bookworm Paris gets caught in a deadly game of hide-and-seek whose players deal in lead, money and lies and include members of the fractured and fractious family of millionaire black businesswoman Winifred L. Fine. Neither Fearless nor Paris is sure who or what the various seekers are after-the missing Mitchell, a fabulous emerald pendant or a family diary-only that it's valued more than the lives lost trying to find it. A desire to aid his friend Fearless initially motivates Paris, but his journey becomes a voyage of self-discovery. While Paris possesses a narrative voice that's more literate and middle-class than that of the street-smart Easy, it should still resonate with Mosley's legions of fans. (July 2) FYI: Mosley's most recent Easy Rawlings novel is Bad Boy Brawly Brown (Forecasts, June 17, 2002). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
This is the greatly anticipated sequel to Mosley's Fearless Jones, which pairs up the dangerous but principled Fearless with his small, cowardly, bookstore-owning friend Paris Minton in the same 1950s Los Angeles that the author mines so brilliantly in his Easy Rawlins series. In Fear Itself, Fearless and Paris are introduced to the unfamiliar world of the black bourgeoisie, searching first for a missing man, then a missing emerald pendant, and finally a priceless heirloom book. Mosley's most distinctive gift is portraying the nuances and subtleties of character and dialog as the men cope with living black in the white world. Accomplished film and television actor Don Cheadle embarks on a new career as audiobook reader with the perfect tone and style to match the material. Highly recommended.-Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Adult/High School-Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins has accomplished many of his goals through hard work and perseverance, and in spite of being a black man in a white-dominated world. When Alva Torres needs help to locate her son, Brawly, Easy gladly steps in as unofficial private eye. The young man turns out to be mixed up with a radical political group, and Easy tries to find a way to ease Brawly and himself out of the mess. After two men are murdered and the police search for everyone with a connection to either death, Easy comes up with a violent answer that saves Brawly's life and covers his own tracks. Mosley weaves together the racial tensions felt in 1964 Los Angeles with the complex threads of Easy's life. Rawlins's multilayered personality and history provide the character's mental and physical drive, which in turn drives the plot. Supporting characters bring their own depth and substance and give readers additional insight into the period. A fine balance of historical fiction, murder mystery, and character study, this novel offers action and a lot of thoughtful material.-Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Inoffensive bookseller Paris Minton's friend Fearless Jones drags him from the safety of his shop into more trouble-big, big trouble-in 1955 Watts. Leora Hartman wants Fearless to track down his own employer, watermelon salesman Kit Mitchell, the father of her son, who's left his home with no forwarding address. But the inquiries Fearless enlists Paris to make are complicated by three dangers. First, Kit's vanishing act is only the beginning of a case that will feature the disappearance of some much more important people and claim Kit's life along with those of a brother and sister killed in separate but equally grisly incidents. Second, Paris and Fearless will soon be playing out of their league, caught in the crossfire between two of LA's heaviest hitters-cosmetics queen Winifred L. Fine and crafty developer Maestro Wexler-and inevitably attracting the less-than-cordial interest of the LAPD. Third, all the parties Paris talks to, from Leora Hartman to Winifred L. Fine, lie to protect their own interests, turn his quest to their advantage, or hide their involvement in a chain of violence and betrayal that stretches all the way back to a priceless Fine family diary begun by a slave 300 years ago. Paris (Fearless Jones, 2001) ends by wrapping up a mystery with perhaps a dozen too many tangles, accepting himself as a killer, and guaranteeing that no matter how well he succeeds in his errands to the powerful and fearsome, he'll never get rich. Agent: Gloria Loomis/Watkins Loomis Agency