Summary and book reviews of Fear Itself by Walter Mosley

Fear Itself

By Walter Mosley

Fear Itself
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  • Hardcover: Jul 2003,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Jul 2004,
    352 pages.

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Book Summary



Paris Minton doesn't want any trouble, but in 1950s Los Angeles, sometimes trouble finds him, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it. When the nephew of the wealthiest woman in L.A. is missing and wanted for murder, she hires Jefferson T. Hill, a former sheriff of Dawson, Texas, to track him down and prove his innocence. When Hill goes missing too, she tricks his friend Fearless Jones and Paris Minton into picking up the case. Paris steps inside the world of the black bourgeoisie and it turns out to be filled with deceit and corruption. It takes everything he has just to stay alive through a case filled with twists and turns and dead ends like he never imagined.


Written with the voice and vision that have made Walter Mosley one of the most entertaining writers in America, Fear Itself marks the return of a master at the top of his form.

1

A SUDDEN BANGING ON THE FRONT DOOR sent a chill down my neck and into my chest. It was two thirty-nine in the morning. I was up and out of my bed immediately, though still more than half asleep.

I had to go to the bathroom but the knocking was insistent; seven quick raps, then a pause, and then seven more. It reminded me of something but I was too confused to remember what.

"All right," I called out.

I considered staying quiet until the unwanted visitor gave up and left. But what if it was a thief? Maybe he was knocking to see if there was anybody home. If I stayed quiet he might just break the two-dollar lock and come in on me. I’m a small man, so even if he was just your run-of-the-mill sneak thief he might have broken my neck before realizing that Paris Minton’s Florence Avenue Book Shop didn’t have any money in the cash box.

I slept in an illegal loft space above the bookstore. It was the only way my little business could stay in the ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Ebony

...a colorful crime noir story with vivid characters that keeps the reader guessing until the very end...

Washington Post

...the profound pleasures here are in his masterful evocation of a long gone Los Angeles...

San Francisco Chronicle

...vibrant, colorful language...Mosley can still dazzle with an unexpected turn of phrase...

The New York Times - Marilyn Stasio

It's a tossup which gives more pleasure in Mosley's vibrant views of neighborhood life, the high-stepping, free-talking characters who bob and weave their way through this convoluted plot, or the colorful local haunts like Henrietta's Gumbo House where they do their shuckin' and jivin'.

The Los Angeles Times - Thomas Curwen

We've seen pictures of black and white, even brown and white Los Angeles from the '40s and '50s, but seldom from the inside out. In Fear Itself, Mosley taps into this world and shows us a city where opportunity is less than it seems and violence a measure of frustration. The sad thing is it's a picture of a city not unlike Los Angeles today.

The Washington Post - Laura Lippman

Paris Minton is his third protagonist within the crime genre, and while Paris has some obvious parallels to Easy, he is very much his own man.

Entertainment Weekly

...visceral moments are so plentiful that the question of whodunit feels almost irrelevant...A-

Booklist - Keir Graff

After a slow beginning, the ending just misses being great when a last twist softens what would have been a perfect noir judgment on Paris. Not Mosley's best, but still plenty good.

Publishers Weekly

The author depicts 1950s Los Angeles with his usual unerring accuracy.

Library Journal

It is a rare thing for an author to release three books in a year's time and to have each outgun its predecessor....Fearless and Paris make a grand duo who can give Easy and Mouse a run for their money. You won't be able to turn the pages fast enough while hoping it never ends. Highly recommended.

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