I understand that as readers, we bring our own perceptions and biases to books in ways authors do not intend. Such is the exchange between creator and those indulging their creation. I genuinely try to connect with what writers are saying in books despite my own bullcrap. I hate it when readers/reviewers talk about reading or watching something and say “I’m just going to pretend its this instead.”
But with Walter Mosley’s Leonid McGill series, I can’t help it.
In the early aughts, Mosley turned from making hardboiled/mystery fare and added touches of existentialism to all of his books. Even the mysteries became about something more. Plotting was never Mosley’s strong suit so he just chucked it out the window in favor of tangents and deeper characterization.
It’s not what I expected when I started diving through Mosley’s extensive catalogue but I like it. However, I’ve come to appreciate it…with reservations. My working theory on the Leonid McGill books, and how I’m able to enjoy them, is that Leonid McGill is actually dead and he’s stuck in some form of the afterlife atoning for his bad deeds as a fixer of the mob.
For me, that explains the surrealism, the sheer implausibility, the lackadaisical plotting, the wild characterization, and the fierce introspection of these books. There’s just no way that these are grounded in any semblance of reality for me. You wouldn’t believe that the same guy who wrote the Easy Rawlins series wrote these. They show an author who has changed his voice, or at least displayed his versatility for the better.
They’re unlike any crime novels I know for the better. But I have to read it my way.
Sorry, I didn’t say much about this particular book but the facts are simple: this is similar to other Leonid McGill books and it also continues the saga of his private life. Check it if you like the others.