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Down the River unto the Sea Paperback – February 26, 2019
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"Gritty . . . The plot soars . . . Few mystery writers can examine issues of race--how it divides and binds people--as clearly and unflinchingly as Walter Mosley."―Oline Cogdill, Associated Press
"Great stuff . . . The vibrant characters and pulsating dialogue are primo Mosley."―Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review
"A wild ride that delivers hard-boiled satisfaction while toying with our prejudices and preconceptions . . . The darker and uglier the story gets, the more Joe King Oliver comes alive. . . . The journey is fun and joyful. . . . A fitting work for a world riddled with dark contradiction."―Steph Cha, Los Angeles Times
"Remarkable . . . Walter Mosley's latest novel [is] all the more relevant in Black Lives Matter era."―Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune
"Down the River Unto the Sea is a well-constructed crime novel, urgent in its plotting and carefully observed in the behaviors and the voices of its supporting cast. Mosley makes it all look simple, creating in Joe King Oliver another fascinatingly flawed detective brimming with potential."―Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle
"This is one of those books that leaves you a little breathless--not only while you're reading, but once the back cover's closed, too. For anyone who loves hard-bitten PI thrillers, reading Down the River unto the Sea couldn't be more right."―Teri Schlichenmeyer, Miami Times
"Rekindles some of the remarkable energy that drove the early Rawlins novels. . . . Mosley writes with great power here about themes that have permeated his work: institutional racism, political corruption, and the ways that both of these issues affect not only society at large but also the inner lives of individual men and women. And he has created a new hero in Joe Oliver with the depth and vulnerability to sustain what readers will hope becomes a new series. . . . It's the perfect moment for Mosley to unveil an exciting new hero and a series set in the present and confronting the issues that drive today's headlines."―Booklist (starred review)
"[An] excellent standalone . . . The novel's dedication--to Malcolm, Medgar, and Martin--underlines the difference that one man can make in the fight for justice."―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"A heady stew of racial politics and seedy characters that Mosley's fans are sure to eat up."―AARP
"It's Mosley's signature style--rough-hewn, rhythmic, and lyrical--that makes you ready and eager for whatever he's serving up. . . . Let the good times roll."―Kirkus Reviews
"Mosley's poetic descriptions of not only New York City but his character's deepest souls elevate the story to beauty. Although the characters, large and small, are all compelling, in the end it is King's story to tell, as he struggles to decide how much he's willing to risk to get the truth."―Strand Magazine
"Mosley's newest standalone has the markings of a classic hard-boiled New York novel... It's also a poignant page-turner whose larger themes--corruption, institutional racism, and the horrors of solitary confinement--speak to some of today's most pressing issues."―Charles Perry, LitHub
"[An] engaging standalone . . . Mosley fans will welcome another imaginative page-turning from a mystery grand master."―Library Journal
About the Author
- Publisher : Mulholland Books; Reprint edition (February 26, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 336 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0316509639
- ISBN-13 : 978-0316509633
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.45 x 1.05 x 8.25 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#105,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #208 in Black & African American Mystery, Thriller and Suspense
- #1,006 in Hard-Boiled Mystery
- #1,628 in Private Investigator Mysteries (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The characters are solid, with one exception that I'll mention later. The relationship between the protagonist and his daughter is EXCELLENT and relatable. The variety of quite a few characters—no mean feat to master so many and keep straight for the reader—is well chosen, and each depicted so clearly, that I never mixed them up. The writing is lean, so never did I bog down in the story.
The one character that didn't ring true is Gladstone, and this is a ver minor criticism. I just never could figure out exactly what compelled him to "protect" his friend in the context of police corruption. (I'm trying not to give too much away here.) The author doesn't share with the reader any underlying commitment between the men, and I'm at the point in life where I seldom assume anyone does anything out of only the goodness of his or her heart, or brotherly comaraderie, in the vast majority of cases.
Down the River Unto the Sea is a very fulfilling, fairly quick read. Highly recommended for readers of crime and police thriller.
King is approached by a woman who wants a man freed from prison, a man who shot two dirty cops in self-defense. King suspects that the men who framed him (he was investigating a dockland drug case) may be part of the plot to frame the radical journalist who killed the cops. Thus, he investigates the case-for-hire and his own case simultaneously. He does this with the help of a crazy criminal named (yes) Melquarth Frost, who takes on the role of the 'avenging angel'—the indestructible sidekick/stone killer who is a common figure in the genre.
This is a rock-solid novel by an MWA grand master. I had the opportunity to interview Walter Mosley at the Smithsonian nearly 30 years ago when he was several books into the Easy Rawlins series and I have followed his distinguished career with interest and enthusiasm.
This is top-notch stuff. Whether it should have received the novel-of-the-year Edgar award can be debated. In the days ahead I will be reviewing the best-first-novel and best-paperback-original awardees and I look forward to comparing them with DOWN THE RIVER UNTO THE SEA.
The high points of the story are its central characters and its realization of the NYC setting. WM knows whereof he speaks. I identified one of the central villains early on, not because it was telegraphed directly, but because WM is an expert on the genre and utilized its themes and patterns in a way that was just a tad too familiar.
Still: 5 stars and, I hope, the beginning of a new, winning series.
While this was not a Chandlerian narrative filled with bon-mots and unforgettable expressions there were two jaw-dropping passages, both on the same page:
"It was like the dawn of a morning after the death of a beloved king. Everything was beautiful but salted with the sorrow of his passing." (p. 176)
"She just gazed at me like a land-bound Midwestern farmer seeing the sea for the first time." (p. 176)
That, as we say, requires the master's touch. How many crime writers will quietly echo Keats on Chapman's Homer?