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Walkin' the Dog by Walter Mosley
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Walkin' the Dog

by Walter Mosley

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364242,307 (3.89)8
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Socrates Fortlaw becomes a little more human and a little less of an archetype in the second book featuring this character. Well done, but not as gripping as Always Outnumbered Always Outgunned. ( )
  mbg0312 | Feb 14, 2012 |
The simplistic form of language Mosley employs can be irritating and off-putting at times, but at its best it also adds a tense power that is stylistically unique. And you care about Socrates Fortlow, about his crimes, his anger, his redemption.

An honest, unflinching attempt to acknowledge and confront black experience in America, along with broader questions of identity and what makes us who we are--whether white, black, or mexican, criminal or cop.

An outstanding contemporary tale. ( )
  manque | Feb 13, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316881716, Paperback)

Once he had dreamed up the Easy Rawlins series, with its colored-coded titles and suave protagonist, Walter Mosley could have coasted for the rest of his life. Instead he delved into impressionistic fiction (RL's Dream) and sci-fi (Blue Light)--and came up with his own variant on Ellison's invisible man, a forbidding ex-con named Socrates Fortlow. The author first introduced this inner-city philosopher in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, allowing him to vault one ethical hurdle after another. Now Socrates returns in Walkin' the Dog, still operating out of his tiny Watts apartment, still figuring precisely what to make of his freedom.

Like his dog, Killer--a spirited mutt who's missing his two hind legs--Socrates has to contend with a number of severe handicaps. Forget the fact that he's a black man in a white society. He's also the fall guy for every crime committed in the vicinity, a scapegoat of near-biblical proportions:

The police always came. They came when a grocery store was robbed or a child was mugged. They came for every dead body with questions and insinuations. Sometimes they took him off to jail. They had searched his house and given him a ticket for not having a license for his two-legged dog. They dropped by on a whim at times just in case he had done something that even they couldn't suspect.
Yet Socrates is no poster child for racial victimization. Why? Because Mosley never soft-pedals the fact that he is, or was, a murderer. "He was a bad man," we are assured at one point. "He had done awful things." Deprived of any sort of sentimental pulpit, Socrates makes his moral determinations on the fly. Should he admit that he killed a mugger in self-defense? Can he force his adopted son Darryl to stay in school? Should he murder a corrupt cop who's terrorized his entire neighborhood? His answers are consistently surprising, and that fact--combined with the author's shrewd, no-nonsense prose--should make every reader long for Mosley's next excursion into the Socratic method. --James Marcus

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:01 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A former black convict in Watts tries to go straight, holding a steady job, helping the town's youth and philosophizing with friends. But when a policeman starts raping and killing blacks, he turns vigilante.

» see all 3 descriptions

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