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Known to Evil by Walter Mosley

Known to Evil

by Walter Mosley

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3211449,397 (3.83)17



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This is the second in Mosley's Leonid McGill series. McGill is a middle-aged black man with an unusual marriage, three children (only one of whom is biologically his) and a history of working deep in the criminal underground. He has recently made the decision to go straight...or as straight as possible...and he works now as a PI in New York City. He still finds it useful, naturally, to call on former associates for assistance from time to time. When his oldest son disappears, and a man with a powerful but unofficial city job seeks his help in making sure a young woman has come to no harm, Leonid crosses paths with several different sorts of evil. Luckily he is fitter than he looks to be, and has virtually no fear. Fast paced and fairly intense, but no graphic violence.
Reviewed in June 2016 ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Jun 6, 2018 |
While very well written, Mosley made one mistake that I REALLY HATE in a book. He has his character discuss how his life is not like a character in a novel...gimme a break, this just irritates me to no end. Sorry, I guess it may be a personal thing. Otherwise, the plot and characters were pretty good, but this second novel in no way measured up to the first Leonid McGill book and a few subplot points were easily solved in what appeared to be time to end the book. Will I read another....maybe, but as I stated when I reviewed the first book in the series, this is definitely Robert B. Parker Spenser lite. ( )
  bjkelley | Aug 21, 2014 |
I don't read much genre fiction (an occasional noir or sci fi). However, my son is a huge Walter Mosley fan, so I picked up Known to Evil for him from the remainder table at the local bookstore. I had to read it, of course, before passing it along to him, since no book crosses the threshold without being read (at least its first 100 pages). I'm not much of a plot fancier. That's not what I obsess about. What I do appreciate in PI noir fiction are the oh-so-flawed, worldly wise and worldly worn detective's meditations on urban life, politics, human relations & in some cases, food, music & art (not much of the latter three here). I got lost a bit in the plot machinations of Known to Evil (couldn't keep all those corrupt & not so corrupt cops, etc. straight)& the ending (or temporary pause in the ongoing saga of Leonid McGill)is disappointing (i.e. nothing much happens). I found Leonid's 23 year marriage to Katrina, during which both have been serially unfaithful, entirely unconvincing. The kids are for the most part grown up. Leonid is in love with Aura & Katrina, although indicating some desire for a real marriage, seems unable to keep from straying at every opportunity. Why don't they just call it quits? I don't get it. An aspect of Mosley's style (or politics)is the attention he pays to the nuances of every character's skin tone. Every shade of black, brown, & white can be found in his catalog. And, even at this late date (2011), it's refreshing to find a writer who identifies all the white characters as white. One can't assume In Mosley's world that if a character isn't identified as black, brown, Asian, Latino, etc. that he or she is some kind of generic white person. Everyone gets the same descriptive treatment. I came away from this read fantasying about writing a poem or prose piece that would include Noir musings but forgo any explicit plot. I would just insert the words "plot continues" whenever necessary to further the train of thought. Perhaps this is what genre writers do in the dead of night, while staking out a case. It's the glue, after all, that solders the story. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
Mosley has written another engaging mystery, that is also a kind of Socratic dialogue on injustice, morals and responsibility to oneself and others, with a little class war thrown in. ( )
  nmele | Apr 6, 2013 |
I've never read a Walter Mosley book before and he's supposed to be good, so I picked this one up for a driving-around book. The characters and plot seem OK, though they skirt close to generic lowlifes at times, everyone suspect, everyone with mixed motives, everyone a similar shade of gray.

But the reason I abandoned this book two CDs in was the god-awful audiobook narrator, one [a:Mirron Willis|1322462|Mirron Willis|http://www.goodreads.com/assets/nophoto/nophoto-U-50x66-4df4c878d4149c45fac159e88cb784ad.jpg]. He has a very liquid voice, in the disturbing sense of audible lip-smackings and saliva movements—OK, so maybe some listeners like that? But his accents are inconsistent, unrealistic, and incompetent; his women are all breathy whisperers; and he regularly overpronounces and mispronounces words (I caught "Paul Klee," "zazen," and "satrap"). These are all inexcusable mistakes, and if a professionally-qualified narrator makes them anyway, then his or her producer should find and correct them.

It got to the point where I was wincing in anticipation of the narration rather than paying attention to the story, and that's when I gave up. I'll probably try another Mosley at some point, but I will never again subject myself to narration by Mirron Willis. ( )
  localcharacter | Apr 2, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Mosley's sense of story is so fundamentally sound, so in tune with the wants and needs of a crime novel that plot points reveal themselves as if by instinct or by feel. As evident in "The Long Fall" and the series' new second installment, "Known to Evil," the reader witnesses a calibrated act of narrative sedimentation. Once the architecture, as grand and opulent as the Tesla building where Leonid keeps an office, is in place, then the real, twinned pleasures assert themselves: Leonid's continued search for redemption amid corruption, and the nuggets of wisdom seeping through, sentence by sentence.
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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
In memory of Ella Mosley
I miss you, Mom.
First words
"Don't you like your food?" Katrina, my wife of twenty-three years, asked.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Book description
The Walter Mosley and his new hero, Leonid McGill, are back in the new New York Times-bestselling mystery series that's already being hailed as a classic of contemporary noir. Leonid McGill-the protagonist introduced in The Long Fall, the book that returned Walter Mosley to bestseller lists nationwide -is still fighting to stick to his reformed ways while the world around him pulls him in every other direction. He has split up with his girlfriend, Aura, because his new self won't let him leave his wife-but then Aura's new boyfriend starts angling to get Leonid kicked out of his prime, top-of-the?kyscraper office space. Meanwhile, one of his sons seems to have found true love-but the girl has a shady past that's all of sudden threatening the whole McGill family-and his other son, the charming rogue Twilliam, is doing nothing but enabling the crisis. Most ominously of all, Alfonse Rinaldo, the mysterious power-behind- the-throne at City Hall, the fixer who seems to control every little thing that happens in New York City, has a problem that even he can't fix- and he's come to Leonid for help. It seems a young woman has disappeared, leaving murder in her wake, and it means everything to Rinaldo to track her down. But he won't tell McGill his motives, which doesn't quite square with the new company policy- but turning down Rinaldo is almost impossible to even contemplate. Known to Evildelivers on all the promise of the characters and story lines introduced in The Long Fall, and then some. It careens fast and deep into gritty, glittery contemporary Manhattan, making the city pulse in a whole new way, and it firmly establishes Leonid McGill as one of the mystery world's most iconic, charismatic leading men.
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Alfonse Rinaldo, the mysterious power-behind- the-throne at City Hall, the fixer who seems to control every little thing that happens in New York City, has a problem that even he can't fix--and he's come to Leonid McGill for help. It seems a young woman has disappeared, leaving murder in her wake, and it means everything to Rinaldo to track her down.… (more)

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