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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from one of the genre's best
For sixteen years now, Walter Mosley has been producing some of the finest mystery novels the genre has ever seen. That streak continues with his latest, another top-notch novel from one of literature's most gifted observers of race, crime and life on the rough side of America's streets.

"Fear of the Dark" is the third book to feature mild-mannered bookstore...
Published on October 4, 2006 by David Montgomery

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Slight Step Backward
There is no argument that Walter Mosley is one of our great American writers. He has written across several genres and, although some of his books have been uneven, he is constantly interesting. However, this episode of Fearless Jones is not one of his better outings. It is definitely not as interesting as the first two installments of the series and does not come...
Published on February 22, 2007 by Howard R. Malis


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another winner from one of the genre's best, October 4, 2006
This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
For sixteen years now, Walter Mosley has been producing some of the finest mystery novels the genre has ever seen. That streak continues with his latest, another top-notch novel from one of literature's most gifted observers of race, crime and life on the rough side of America's streets.

"Fear of the Dark" is the third book to feature mild-mannered bookstore owner Paris Minton, and once again this gentle man is taking part in an adventure against his will, with his stalwart friend Fearless Jones along for the ride.

Paris is a fascinating hero for a crime novel, as he's neither brave nor ambitious, nor especially honest. He wants nothing more than to be left alone among his beloved books, but there's no way that the shadier residents of L.A.'s South Central are going to let that happen.

The stories featuring Paris Minton are so good that they have begun to outshine even Mosley's superb series featuring detective Easy Rawlins -- and that's high praise indeed.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars bookseller as detective, September 22, 2006
This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
Walter Mosley can write about anything. While his Easy Rawlins series is his best known, a few years ago he started this series about Fearless Jones. Of course, Fearless is in it but he's mostly the sidekick to the dweeby little ghetto bookseller, Paris Minton.

The story opens with Minton scanning his system of mirrors that helps him to quickly identify the rare visitor who steps inside the entryway to his bookstore. Now and then he does have customers. He's more concerned about running away from bad guys who might pay a visit. One guy he knows to ignore is his worthless cousin Ulysses. They all call him USELESS (except his mother).

Useless pays a visit to Paris and then he vanishes. His mother, Minton's aunt, recruits Paris and Fearless to find her son. That's where the adventure begins. Mosley is a supremely gifted stylist. He cooks up a steaming pot of intrigue, unsolved murders, dangerous damsels, rogue cops and per the usual, Paris Minton's eye for the ladies gets him into a real stew.

Mosley can write this stuff in his sleep. We are blessed to have such a prolific author among us.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courage is in the Eye of the Beholder, April 18, 2007
This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
Walter Mosley's Fear of the Dark is the third in a series in which we find Paris Minton, the struggling bookstore owner amidst the criminal element of South Central Los Angeles during the 1950s. Once again, trouble comes looking for Paris and although reluctant to plunge head first into a dangerous situation, Paris fails to realize his own courage as he goes about doing what must be done.

To shield his aunt Three Hearts from danger, Paris, and his companion/protector, Fearless Jones, set out to find Three Hearts' wayward son Ulysses S. Grant IV (a.k.a. Useless) and uncover a blackmail scheme that Useless is at the center of. Paris and Fearless quickly learn that they are not the only ones searching for Useless. The criminals seeking Useless do not hesitate to leave a trail of lifeless bodies and at anytime Paris and Fearless could end up amongst the dead.

Fear of the Dark is a light and crisp murder mystery. Mr. Mosley's vivid depiction of Paris' surroundings was amazing. I walked the streets with Paris and entered the same dark and dank places. Fearless was not Paris' only companion, I was there too. Mr. Mosley's ability to effortlessly spin creative and thought-provoking social commentary/messages intrigue me to no end.

Marian E.

APOOO BookClub
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Paris Minton's Fear Makes Him Brave, April 19, 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
If you have not yet read Fearless Jones and Fear Itself (the first two books in the Fearless Jones series), I strongly urge you to do so before reading Fear of the Dark. Both of those books are better written and more entertaining than Fear of the Dark. Without the perspective that those books give you on Fearless Jones and Paris Minton, you'll like Fear of the Dark less than you might.

Paris Minton is a most unusual character for Walter Mosley. Paris is the owner of a used bookstore in Watts in the mid-1950s that he has to subsidize with a part-time job. Minton is a largely self-educated black man from Louisiana who came to California to find libraries that were open to all. His store's books are discards from local libraries. He has achieved a fragile kind of peaceful life, living and working in his bookstore (and reading when there are no customers, which is often). His head is full of classic literature (the oldest Greeks are his favorites) and carries a heroic perspective into every situation: They only trouble is, he's no hero. Paris is afraid of everything and almost everyone.

How does Paris cope? He has the equivalent of Dumbo's magic feather in the swashbuckling Fearless Jones, a modern archetype for the knight errant. Whenever trouble looms, Paris calls on Fearless for help. In many cases, Fearless's reputation is enough to solve the problem. But when rough stuff is needed, Fearless is your man. A World War II hero, Fearless met when Minton when Minton spontaneously bought Jones a drink during the post-war celebration. "He appreciated my generosity and gave me a lifetime of friendship for a single shot of scotch." As you can see, Mr. Mosley writes like an angel. Minton, the man of logic, reciprocates by helping Fearless solve problems where his bravery and reputation are not enough.

The two characters remind me of a Star Trek episode where a transporter malfunctions and Captain Kirk is divided into two people, one who is totally dominant and carnal and the other who is caring and weak. Paris and Fearless are similarly opposites, yet totally compatible as though they came from the same source. Obviously, Mr. Mosley is equally fascinated with how the opposite ways of pursuing the masculine life play out.

Since Paris operates in a tough area, he won't open his door for just anyone. He has an elaborate series of mirrors that allow him to see who wants in. When the mirrors show that his cousin Ulysses S. Grant IV (generally referred to as "Useless") is at the front door, Paris turns Useless away. Why? The last time he let Useless in, Paris almost ended in being framed for a robbery that Useless had done. No fool, Paris isn't about to repeat that mistake. "Useless was like monosodium glutamate for problems; he brought out the evil essence and magnified it." Useless leaves a cryptic message for his mother with Paris, "Tell Three Hearts that there's a man named Hector wrote my name on a black slip'a paper. Tell her that I tried to make it work with Angel, but I guess I was mudfoot just like she said."

Three weeks earlier, Paris had found his own way into trouble. He rescued a skinny young white woman named Jessa Brown who was trying to run a con on a small restaurant. The two became lovers . . . which becomes a problem when Jessa's ex-boyfriend Tiny (who is anything but) shows up at the bookstore while they two were engaged with one another on the floor.

Life gets more complicated from there. First, Tiny shows up dead in the bookstore. Then, Aunt Three Hearts shows up looking for Useless, and Paris cannot turn her down. Why? She has a reputation for putting the Evil Eye on those who don't do her wishes. Fearless Jones is tied up protecting Milo Sweet, the bail bondsman, from a dangerous felon, but Fearless does double duty in helping Paris as well.

It soon becomes clear that Useless has gotten himself into some very dangerous waters. Paris and Fearless set out to unravel the mystery and put the pieces back together again.

I found Fear of the Dark to be less interesting than the earlier two books in the series because the secondary characters and their motives are much less inspiring in Fear of the Dark. Why would anyone other than his mother care about Useless? As fine a woman as Three Hearts is, it's not as rewarding as it might be to read about her trying to save her son from himself. You know that Useless will just end up in some new trouble. There's also a lot of sexual innuendo in the book that didn't really advance the story or develop the characters beyond where they were at the end of Fear Itself.

But if you enjoy Paris Minton as a character, I think you'll feel rewarded for reading the book. The best part of the story is how Paris ends up taking on lots of danger so that he can avoid things that he's even more afraid of. Yes, a frightened man can be brave . . . especially when all is required is intellectual courage. Just don't have your highest expectations in place when you begin Fear of the Dark (a good double play on Paris's fear of dark places and society's fear of the African-American male).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Never Fear when Paris is on the Case, March 14, 2007
By 
Grey Wolffe "Zeb Kantrowitz" (North Waltham, MA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
This is the third in the series, and anyone who has read all three know that Fearless Jones is only a tangential character and that Paris Minton is the true center of these stories. This one begins with a knock on Paris' door by his cousin 'Useless' (Ulysses S Grant IV) who once again brings mayhem and havoc to Paris' life. Useless is one of those people who seem to always bring trouble to himself and everyone around him. On top of that is his mother Three-Hearts (which Mosley never explains) who is known to have the

'evil eye' and is not afraid to use it.

The story itself is interesting for the sociology of 1950s Los Angeles where white men can be blackmailed for their relationships with "negro" woman (of course they are also adulterers and embezzlers, but that's not really here or there). There is a great sequence where two cops (who have been hounding Paris) are cut down and put in their place by a white bank exec that they are trying to help. What is said and left unsaid in the dialogue says so much about 'Eisenhower' America and the relationships between the races at that time.

Even Mosley has problems with writing about African-Americans; Paris is constantly commenting on the shades of brown (chocolate, cafe au lait, high yellow, copper, etc)people are and can't decide what the characters should call each other or themselves (colored, negro, the "N" word are all thrown around). It's interesting to see how a "blackman" who lived through those times, looks back on a culture that is now lost to us all.

The story is interesting, the people too, and the plot moves along nice and steady without any surprises thrown in for shock value; all in all a good effort.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Evil Eye!, May 18, 2007
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This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
Fearless Jones and Paris Minton are back doing another off-the-books investigation that takes them down the dark alleys of 1956 Los Angeles. The city, especially the areas where Fearless and Paris live as well as the darkness their quest takes them through, is violent and filled with civil unrest.

In this book, Paris is haunted by family. His cousin Useless (Ulysses S. Grant IV) shows up at an inopportune moment and things go downhill quickly from there. Not long after Paris turns Useless from his door, Paris gets interrupted by his current girlfriend's current boyfriend. Paris flees for his life (his first rule of operation) and looks up Fearless for backup. But by the time they return to Paris's bookshop, there's a dead man lying there.

No sooner than Fearless and Parish have the body hidden away so no one will take the fall for murdering him than Paris's aunt Three Hearts arrives and begins threatening Paris. Since her evil eye is known to kill, Paris aims to please.

FEAR OF THE DARK felt a lot like the other two books, but that's good. THe investigation proceeds at a nice clip and the characters are always fun.

Mosley also writes the Easy Rawlins mysteries. Of late, those have been set in the early 1960s. Easy is a married man and at least twenty years older than Paris and Fearless. Paris narrates, and his voice is at once young and aged, savvy and naive.

Mosley's pacing in this book will keep readers flipping pages late into the the night. He seems more comfortable at this length than he has in previous novels. There's also more back story and a better view of California at the time in this one. His dialogue seems dead-on and so do his characters.

If you're new to Mosley's work, I'd recommend DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS first. The FEAR series can be read pretty much in what order you find them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fear, hatred and blackmail in 1950s Watts, December 1, 2006
This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
Paris Minton's cousin 'Useless' is as useless as his name. Any time he comes around, Paris knows it's trouble. But trouble seems to be coming for Paris, even when he turns Useless away at the door, When Paris's current (white) lover's ex-boyfriend follows her to Paris's bookstore and catches them in the midst of sex, Paris barely gets away with his life. The ex-boyfriend isn't so lucky, and Paris has to call in his friend Fearless Jones to help with the body.

When Useless's mother, Three Hearts, shows up looking for Useless, Paris is roped into the search--and so is Fearless. Paris discovers a strange web of beautiful women, black gangsters, and blackmail. Without Fearless, Paris wouldn't survive more than a couple of hours, but Fearless has his own duties, including bodyguarding a bail bondsman.

Set in Watts (Los Angeles) during the 1950s, FEAR OF THE DARK is filled with the racial tension of a time when most of America wanted to shut its eyes to prejudice and institutionalized racism. Within the black community, anger and frustration are the most common feelings. Paris knows better than to go to the police when a white man ends up dead in his store--the police would look no further for their suspect. And a white philanderer and blackmail victim commands more respect from the police than does even Fearless Jones himself. Echoing the hatred and fear that the blacks feel for the whites, Paris's Chinese love interest hates the Japanese and a Japanese friend hates the Americans for the internship during World War II.

Author Walter Mosley writes big. Fearless is heroic figure, with a simple philosophy that astounds and sometimes enlightens the intellectual Paris. Violence is never far from the surface, and life is cheap. Still, Mosley manages to summon some nostalgia for a Los Angeles destroyed in the Watts riots of the 1960s. Jazz clubs welcome both black and white, and white businessmen serve black clients with shops and restaurants not yet destroyed by that orgy of destruction.

FEAR OF THE DARK doesn't seem quite as tight as some of Mosley's other novels, and occasionally gets a bit heavy-handed with message, but the book is hard to put down and left me, at least, with plenty to talk about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Good Mosley Crime Novel, July 17, 2007
This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
Walter Mosley, the master of mysteries and crime stories, has created another masterpiece with Fear of the Dark. This intriguing novel, set in circa 1950 Los Angeles, is the third in the Fearless Jones and Paris Minton series.

Paris, an unassuming used bookstore owner, unwittingly gets involved in a murder and extortion plot. Paris consults his friend Fearless, a strong, handsome and respected/dreaded, body guard. Together they wade through the morass created by an eclectic cast of characters; one of which is Paris' bungling cousin, Ulysses.

Mosley skillfully places his literary pearls and invites the reader to the scavenger hunt. Discovering who, what, where, when and why with Paris and Fearless was an exciting, comical, and surprising adventure. Mosley continues to capture and keep readers' attention through skillful story telling, vivid language, and short chapters. I had to force myself to stop reading so that I would not miss my stop on the train.

Laughing out loud, shaking my head in disbelief, and raising my eyebrows in astonishment were just a few of my emotional responses while reading this novel. Fear of the Dark is definitely a welcome addition to my library. I'm looking forward to reading Mr. Mosley's next release.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Slight Step Backward, February 22, 2007
This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
There is no argument that Walter Mosley is one of our great American writers. He has written across several genres and, although some of his books have been uneven, he is constantly interesting. However, this episode of Fearless Jones is not one of his better outings. It is definitely not as interesting as the first two installments of the series and does not come close to approaching any of the Easy Rawlins stories. The problem for me was that I did not care about the characters that Fearless and Paris Minton were looking for in the story. I wished they had stayed lost. The book ended with a whimper in my opinion and I was glad it was over. I won't give up on the characters and look forward to their next outing hoping it will be a better story. The best part of the book was Mosley displaying his continued excellence in evoking the time and place of 1950's Los Angeles. Only James Ellroy can match Mosely's ability to describe the underbelly of Los Angeles during what was the dawning of turbulent times in this city.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fear of the Dark, January 3, 2007
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This review is from: Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) (Hardcover)
Further adventures of book seller, Paris Minton trying to survive and eking out a living In Los Angeles. Every times when he slips up and finds himself in a jam he always is able to find Fearless Jones to help him eliminate whatever obstacles in the way. Since this is the third book in the series Paris shows a little growth in trying not to involve himself in matters that can be perilous to his well being but he just can't help himself. Anyway I like the series as a whole even though there are similarities with the Easy Rawlings series as far as characterizations go . You can substitute Paris for Easy and Fearless Jones for Mouse, but I don't mind as the growth of the characters during the periods is what both series are really all about.
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Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3)
Fear of the Dark (Fearless Jones Novel, No.3) by Walter Mosley (Hardcover - September 19, 2006)
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