books

I am a long-time Walter Mosley fan and am most partial to his Easy Rawlins series (the movie version stars Denzel Washington as the New Orleans sleuth…but as with many movies, the books are much better). However, until this chance to read All I Did was Shoot My Man–the final book I’m reviewing of the seven nominated for an Edgar Award–I have not read the three previous offerings in the Leonid McGill mystery series. And I’m sorry to report I probably won’t based on this fourth effort.

Walter Mosley is a wonderful writer. His characters are deftly drawn, even their names provide intrigue and depth (Leonid Trotsky McGill–LT to everyone–was raised by his father Tolstoy, an African-American Communist). The eponymous shooter’s name is Zella and she really did shoot her boyfriend Harry Tangelo for cheating on her with her best friend Minnie Lesser (AKA Claudia Burns and AKA Rhianon Quick). Nine years earlier, before LT gave up the criminal life, he framed Zella for a multi-million dollar heist (unsolved) because he and his nefarious friends figured she was going to prison anyway.

The story centers around LT trying to solve who actually stole the 56 million bucks in order to clear Zella and collect a reward of 1.5% of the recovered cash (most of which he gives to Zella for her trouble).

My recap of the story may be skewed because I couldn’t follow the constant stream of characters adding their two cents to the whole. And characters there are: Twilliam, Tatyana, Katrina,Shelly, Dimitri, Johann, Breland Lewis, Carson Kitteridge, Gordo Tallman, Lethford, Alton Plimpton, Little Zella, Aura, Antoinette, Sweet Lemon, Gert Longman, Stumpy Brown, and Hush the hitman…and plenty more. I wanted to like this book but did not.

On a scale of 1-10 it rates a 2.

The Edgar Awards will be announced on Thursday, May 2nd. My writing partner, Karen Burgess has also reviewed and ranked the Best Novel nominees. We definitely agree on the number one choice: Gone Girl will get the award.

Advertisements