Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Two From Patrick

Walter Mosley The Right Mistake
walter After ten years, Mosley resurrects ex-convict and street philosopher, Socrates Fortlow (Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned and Walkin' the Dog) in a fresh series of interlinked South Central LA stories. Fortlow, now sixty years old, has a new project this time: the creation of a grassroots community center he dubs "The Big Nickel." The modest room, created out of a tin-plated home add-on that Socrates has rented, becomes a weekly meeting place for a motley crew of locals, including a Chinese martial arts master, the elderly Jewish son of a ragman, a rising pop singer, a recidivist criminal and gang member, and a young woman named Luna who sets her sights on Socrates. Each of the vignettes presents a different morality play. In a lesser writer's hands this might come across as self-conscious and heavy-handed, but Mosley doesn't offer easy, pat answers to the dilemmas his characters face. As the book progresses, the violence and chaos of the outside world keeps breaking in on the small group and Socrates once again finds himself facing a murder rap. I've always admired Mosley's work and Socrates Fortlow is my favorite of his fictional creations.

Kencops Bruen Once Were Cops
"Bruen returns with a ultra dark noir tale of two disturbed cops - one a member of the Irish police force, Michael O'Shea, who barely keeps his sociopathic insanity at bay, the other a violent K-bar wielding officer nicknamed "Kebar." O'Shea has always dreamed of becoming a NYPD cop, and when an exchange program is initiated, twenty Irish cops are sent to Gotham. When O'Shea and Kebar team up, the streets of New York don't stand a chance. This perfectly-crafted stand alone novel will disturb readers and jar them out of their comfort zone. Is there any higher praise than that? I don't know how Bruen does it, but this one reminded me of Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me: slippery, subversive and a hell of a lot of fun."

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