Saturday, March 2, 2013

All I Did Was Shoot My Man by Walter Mosley

The second Edgar Award Nominee in my pile is from Walter Mosely.  This is the fourth in a series starring Private Eye Leonid McGill.

Why would I ever plant false evidence on a poor woman already going to jail?  A woman distraught over her faithless lover and the child in her womb? I tried to remember the state of mind that allowed me to take those actions.  I knew the man that did these things intimately, had all his memories.  I could enumerate each and every sin he ever committed.  But try as I might I could not bring up the feeling inside that allowed me to do the things I'd done.

Of course men were after me.  Of course they wanted to destroy me.  Of course they did.
         All I did was Shoot My Man pp166-167

Leonid not only solves crimes, he sometimes has had a hand in facilitating them.  He has a long dark history and a deeply philosophical mind and tortured conscience.

One crime on his conscience is his tampering with evidence to help indict a woman named Zella Grisham of a crime she didn't commit.  All she was guilty of was shooting her boyfriend three times when she found him in bed with her best friend. 

Thanks to Leonid, she is sent to prison for being part of a fifty eight million dollar heist.  After eight years in prison, a lawyer helps get her released and Leonid is hired to meet her at the train station and make sure she is settled into a new life.

Zella's release unleashes a series of brutal killings and an attempt to murder Leonid in his home.  He can't figure out how the woman he knows to be innocent can be such a trigger.  He works as quickly as he can to untangle the mystery of the original heist and to find who is killing people now because of it.

Leonid has a life as complex as the crime he tries to solve.  He has been married for years to Katrina and they have no relationship at all except for the tenuous tie of their children. 

He has a mistress who he had a falling out with but now he is falling back in with her. 

Only one of his children is his own, the others are products of his wife's many affairs.  He has a hard relationship with his own son Dmitri, but has a deep and loving relationship with the others.

Twill stands out as a remarkable son and character.  He is slick and smart and streetwise.  He loves and respects Leonid more than anyone.  He is the one who works with Leonid on cases and who will eventually be his partner.  Unless he is killed in the dangerous world they live in.

Beautifully written, immediate prose.  Wonderful characters.  The reader is given much to think about as the story races along.  I'm going to go back and read the others in the series because I'd like to know how these folks got here from there.

Visit Walter Mosely's web site here.

The Long Fall 2009

Known to evil 2010

When the thrill is gone  2011

All I did was shoot my man 2012

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