The Long Fall by Walter Mosley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book starts off Mosley's new detective series (new-ish; this is from 2010). Leonid McGill fits into the classic Hammett/Chandler model. A hero with questionable conventional norms--willing to do things and live partially on the edges of society. Yet, with a strong internal moral code. There is only so far he'll go and there is a price he is not willing to accept for his integrity. McGill, though, is in the process of transforming himself; redeeming himself from a past where his personal code was weaker and he was more willing to do whatever came his way. Predictably, his past won't let go so easily. Unlike many such protagonists in this genre, McGill has a family which adds a different element to the demands on him. McGill does have a side kick who is further outside of the context of social norms but respects and protects McGill. The influence of Parker's Hawk is a clearly evident here.
While the plot threads and characters were hard to track at times, the thrust of the story works well and comes together at the end. The characters are compelling and avoid stereotypes and conventional tropes. Mosley is deservedly one of the masters of this genre.
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