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Known to Evil (A Leonid McGill Mystery) Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 23, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: A Leonid McGill Mystery
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Riverhead Hardcover (March 23, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594487529
  • ASIN: B0058M7WFQ
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,411,534 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Although critics continued to lament the end of Mosley's former series featuring Easy Rawlins, they were generally pleased with the second installment of his latest. Mosley, a consummate storyteller, has full command of his plot and distinct prose, and McGill shines as the troubled, complex narrator trying to make amends despite the corruption and vice that surround him. Readers will savor McGill's razor-sharp insight and shrewd, if melancholy, outlook on life. A few minor complaints arose: Mosley doesn't quite succeed in evoking the Big Apple, and some of his characters are a bit too reminiscent of former creations in previous books. However, the critics enjoyed their time spent with Leonid McGill and his dysfunctional entourage, and they look forward to more.

From Booklist

Leonid McGill, Mosley’s newest hero (The Long Fall, 2009), is haunted by the bad things he used to do to people—or so he keeps telling us. At first, the plot seems to support that claim: as McGill works his case, tracking a young woman for a powerful fixer, he is also consumed with helping a former victim, rescuing his son’s girlfriend from her pimp, and remaining respectful in his loveless marriage. But those plotlines are decoys because the supporting characters aren’t fully developed. Each exists to demonstrate something about McGill—his remorse, violence, loyalty—and then is quickly whisked offstage. Mosley has written some classic crime novels, and he has a devoted following, but the strikingly different setting of this series doesn’t hide a glaring flaw: from start to finish, McGill and his supporting cast don’t change. This is a very interior, solipsistic crime novel, and McGill’s first-person narration may feel oppressive to some readers. Others may wonder how such a self-centered sleuth could possibly become a good judge of other people’s characters. In marked contrast to Mosley’s threadbare L.A. settings, McGill’s world is lush and wealthy. But it’s also cartoonish in its absolutes: McGill knows no fear but constructs spy-worthy escape hatches. He has an extensive network of criminals and stone-cold killers. He’s short and ugly, but women throw themselves at him. All writing requires some degree of world-building, but the world Mosley has built here shows the marks of its invention. --Keir Graff

More About the Author

Walter Mosley is one of America's most celebrated and beloved writers. His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Mosley is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries, including national bestsellers Cinnamon Kiss, Little Scarlet, and Bad Boy Brawly Brown; the Fearless Jones series, including Fearless Jones, Fear Itself, and Fear of the Dark; the novels Blue Light and RL's Dream; and two collections of stories featuring Socrates Fortlow, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award, and Walkin' the Dog. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 58 customer reviews
Each character is entertaining and intriguing.
John P. Flyhn
I must admit to only having read one of this author's prior books, which took place in an LA of earlier times.
Gloria Feit
I really enjoy this character and Walter Mosley is one of my favorite mystery authors.
S. Davis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In a world of overused superlatives; Walter Mosley stands out as TRUE recipient of the word 'genius' and any other accompanying synonyms. I get nervous when writing a review for one of Mosley's books because I feel like a third grader standing in front of the `Mona Lisa' and being told to critique it. So instead of trying to wrack my brain, write something profound or critique the work of a word-smith master... I'll just tell you how much I enjoyed this book (that kind of IS the purpose of a review, huh?).

Leonid is a poor man's private eye. And like any good private eye, he has people on the good (and bad side) of the law, and the good (and bad side) of society. He's like a modern day mercenary, a gun for hire, a man's-man when you're in a pinch... a professor in philosophy for the street. Leonid is caught up in another octopus-type mystery. I say "octopus-type" because there are a LOT of characters and a LOT going on within the streets of New York. Come to think of it, New York is probably the only city with enough chutzpah to handle Leonid AND Mr. Mosley. Leonid's personal life is convoluted. Leonid's professional life is convoluted. Together they create a labyrinth of shady characters, bad cops, loose women, and nocturnal friends.

The brilliance of `Known to Evil' is that it makes the classic black-n-white mystery noir seem brand new. While at the same time, continues to concretes Walter Mosley as a living literary legend. Most of us strive to leave a mark on this world by the time we die. With Leonid, Mosley is starting on his second Grand Canyon.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By K. Zhou on May 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love Leonid McGill. It shows him as a human being with all the problems with America in general. His wife is cheating on him, he is cheating on his wife, his marriage is loveless, his children aren't genetically his except Dem, and his life is in trouble. It is a great character and overall Known to Evil is a great book. The only reason it doesn't get the Five stars is because of the ending. It was a weak ending. The Long Fall had a good ending and an excellent beginning and middle and so does this book in the latter. It has a good beginning, it is very very strong in the middle but the ending kind of lacks, well spice. Other than that one complaint, this is a very very good book.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stephen T. Hopkins VINE VOICE on June 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Walter Mosley continues to develop the protagonist Leonid McGill in his novel titled, Known to Evil. The motivation of private detective McGill is to act in ways that atone for his bad behavior, and it his redemption that becomes a life goal. In some ways McGill is both hero and everyman. Thanks to Mosley's fine writing, the dialogue seems realistic, the characters are well-developed, and the insights about human condition are profound. The personal circumstances that led McGill to this moment in his life and those of society at large contain a randomness that's sobering.

Rating: Three-star (Recommended)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Neal C. Reynolds VINE VOICE on May 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The introductory novel in this series had a classic feel in a modern noir style. This new book is still an amazing read, but there's a bit of a self-consciousness here. The secondery characters such as Hush, Alphonse Renaldo, Carson Kittredge, Bethann Bonilla, don't seem to live and breathe on the page as they did in THE LONG FALL. There are no characters as appealling as Hannah Hull was in the earlier book. Still it is a very strong book with powerful comments on today's society along with a decidedly entertaining mystery, and I do look forward to the next Leonid McGill novel with bated breath.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rosa on April 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is an fantastic novel. Leonid McGill despite his flaws continues to fight the good fight. In this novel he is hired by the fixer Rinaldo to find a missing girl but the catch is he's not know what, or why. Despite his misgivings continue on. Also he must save his sons who seem to be on the wrong side of law. As always his novels as action-packed and it keeps you guessing until the end. If you miss his first Leonid McGill The Long Fall this new novel Known to Evil is a must get.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Medrano on March 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Too many periphery characters that confuse issues and plot--with an overkill of big words. The author mentions characters by one given name and confuses us by on and off calling them by different names. I have noticed that Mr. Mosley mostly runs hot and cold. I just have to catch him when he functions well as he has done with Socrates Fortlow.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Devout Reader on April 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As usual I find the writing of Walter Mosley wonderful. I love the story line and the continued development of the characters. Good reading!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on June 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Walter Mosley made the difficult decision a few years back to stop writing about the literary creation that made him famous: Easy Rawlins, the unconventional black private eye from Los Angeles. He instead introduced a new detective series set in contemporary New York featuring a middle-aged black man named Leonid McGill. THE LONG FALL, the first installment in the series, released in 2009.

KNOWN TO EVIL, the second McGill book, confirms what longtime readers of this author have long known: Mosley is one of our best writers, not just of crime fiction but of all genres. The challenge he faced was to write a detective novel relevant to the America of the early years of the 21st century. The detectives created by Hammett and Chandler, and even late 20th-century writers like Ed McBain and Robert B. Parker, were products of the last century, as great and enjoyable as those characters were.

Mosley's McGill bares little resemblance to those earlier heroes. McGill is a likable character, but he has lived his life in a sea of corruption. He worked as a freelancer fixer for the mob, and anybody else who could pay, and freely admits to spending 20 years involved in criminal activity. "I framed these lowlifes for crimes that other crooks needed to get out from under --- all for a fee, of course," he says early on. One cop, upon meeting McGill for the first time, says, "They say you got your finger in every dishonest business in the city."

At 54, McGill has not exactly seen the light but is seeking some sort of redemption. In his midlife crises, he is wracked by guilt and relentless headaches over his past. He says, "Innocent or not, anyone can be made to look bad. And I had enough skeletons in my closet to make a death row inmate seem angelic. But I wasn't worried...
Read more ›
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