Sunday, March 29, 2015



*Book 3 of the Leonid McGill series*

I'd read the first two Leonid McGill detective mysteries written by Mosley years back, before I began to write my book opinions down. For some reason I never got around to continuing the series so I decided to try to catch up. From what I remember from the earlier books, the plots were a little unremarkable, as with many detective series. That might have been part of the reason why I wasn't in a rush to read this one. 
But this series carries it's strength in depicting Leonid McGill's highly-dysfunctional family life, having to juggle them as skillfully as navigating his dangerous cases as a PI in contemporary New York City. From his brilliant and charismatic son, Twill,  who's just dropped out of high school and always finds his way into trouble, his loveless but devoted marriage to his cheating wife Katrina, his on-again, off-again relationship with his girlfriend Aura, and his shaky relationship with his dead Communist revolutionary father (whose teachings are a constant influence to Leonid), it's a wonder that our hero has any time in the day to actually do detective work.

And in this installment, Leonid is hired by a young steel painter who is scared of being murdered by the psychic superpowers of her billionaire husband, a man who lives in a ranch-style house on the roof of a Manhattan skyscraper.

One of Mosley's strengths is a sensitivity to character and an ability to create very engaging protagonists. Like Easy Rawlins, Leonid is compassionate behind his gruff exterior, with an aching heart for the downtrodden. In this novel you really get a sense of Leonid cultivating a new "family" of misfits from the people in need that he helps along the way. But one of the issues with Leonid is that he always seems to have every resource available to him to solve every problem that comes his way, so he never seems to be in much danger and he never has to work too hard to find clues. That might also be an issue with detective novels set in contemporary times when information is so easy to find. And why are the plots in so many detective series books so damned forgettable?! Is it laziness and dependency on a cool character to carry you through? But anyway, the book is still an enjoyable read and the series is worth a look. And this installment might be the best in the series so far.
A sigh escaped my lips but no one heard, and so no one cared.

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