Thursday, April 15, 2010
KNOWN TO EVIL by Walter Mosley
I don't know of a writer I admire more than Walter Mosley.
I admire, not just the clear power of his stories, but his simple pared-down sentences.
Mosley's writing style never becomes a parody of itself in the way Robert B. Parker's style sometimes does.
Some stories may be more powerful than others, may mean more to me, but every Mosley story I have read so far has been well told.
Known to Evil is the story of a young woman who literally becomes known to evil. She is on the edge of events over which she has little control and no real way to understand.
She has on her side and against her some of the most powerful people in New York City. At the same time, Mosley's "hero" Leonid McGill's family is falling apart. His marriage has disintegrated. His sons are in trouble.
For the powerful man who hired McGill, McGill is literally a "throw away," someone who is tough and principled, but whose life means little. The real issue is not the initial murder, but finding and protecting the young woman.
There is no middle ground with Walter Mosley. Most reviewers either love him or dislike what he writes, and from what I can tell, that is the way it is with this story too.
I saw positives and negatives in the story. The strong style, the interesting story, the way the story seems to move along quietly until McGill comes face to face with unadulterated evil, only briefly and in a short scene.
For me, the closing chapters of the story put too positive a turn on the events. But aside from that, this story took me in and didn't let me go until Leonid McGill, too, had become known to evil.