MLA Platinum Award Press Release

BookBrowse Reviews Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Down the River unto the Sea

by Walter Mosley

Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley X
Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2018, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2019, 336 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


Joe King Oliver must beat dirty cops and dirtier bankers, craven lawyers, and above all keep his daughter far from the underworld in which he works.

In his latest stand-alone crime novel, Walter Mosley continues to write thought-provokingly about interesting, colorful and multi-dimensional characters. They are complex people, some that you might think twice about inviting into your home, but with whom you'd like to have a conversation over a good meal and a fine bourbon, neat.

Joe King Oliver is a former New York City policeman. He's divorced with a teenaged daughter named Aja-Denise who works for him part time at the front desk of his private detective agency. Joe is a chess playing, Hesse reading, fan of detective novels and Thelonious Monk. He's also a man carrying a heavy grudge and it weighs on his every move. It began over a decade ago when, as a cop, he was dispatched to arrest a car thief.

At first it seemed like a slam-dunk. The stolen vehicle was parked at the curb and the alleged thief – a young woman – not only answered the door, but invited Joe in. From there it didn't take much for her to lure him into what became a trap. The ultimate result of his admittedly ill-advised carnal indulgence with her was that his wife left him, he got booted off the force, and he landed in Rikers prison where he received a typical cop's welcome. He still bears the scars.

Only by the grace of a good friend in the department did he escape even more severe punishment at the hands of his fellow inmates. And then, once out, it was he who helped Joe set himself up in his own PI agency. Today Joe is older, wiser, but still bitter because he knows he was set up. He just doesn't know by whom or why – until he receives a letter from that car thief.

It seems she has found God and wants to confess and repent; make amends for the role she played in his setup. She names names. Coincident with this revelation is a new client, flush with cash and information, who wants to hire Joe to investigate why a Black activist is being framed for the murder of two cops. He decides to take both cases on. He knows it's crazy but, "A man can live his whole life following the rules set down by happenstance and the cash-coated bait of security-cosseted morality; an entire lifetime and in the end he wouldn't have done one thing to be proud of."

So Joe teams up with Melquarth Frost, a man of uncertain sanity and a bank-robbing killer of an ex-con who makes and repairs watches and who owes Joe a favor. "I followed him up the stairs and out into a fate filled with madmen and red birds, nameless cops and women who fooled you again and again."

It is the first of several uneasy partnerships Joe has to make throughout the complicated dual investigations. However he knows he can't go it alone: "I learned a lot since I was a police detective thinking he could do it on his own...I learned that reading is important, that law is an ever-changing variable equation, and that a man is a fool if he works alone."

Joe searches for answers. Following a trail of blind alleys, crooked cops, dangerous felons and dead ends that challenged my ability to keep up, Joe rolls with and through the punches. But Down the River Unto the Sea is all good. With Mosley at the helm the means is every bit as rewarding as the end.

Reviewed by Donna Chavez

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in February 2018, and has been updated for the February 2019 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for a year or $12 for 3 months
  • More about membership!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: American Dirt
    American Dirt
    by Jeanine Cummins
    Jeanine Cummins' American Dirt hasn't just been positively reviewed by BookBrowse First Impressions ...
  • Book Jacket: In the Dream House
    In the Dream House
    by Carmen Maria Machado
    In the introduction to In the Dream House, Carmen Maria Machado (a National Book Award finalist for ...
  • Book Jacket: Father of Lions
    Father of Lions
    by Louise Callaghan
    Our readers have given high marks to Father of Lions by Louise Callaghan. Out of 21 reviewers, 18 ...
  • Book Jacket
    Girl, Woman, Other
    by Bernardine Evaristo
    As we meet Amma, a 50-something playwright finally experiencing mainstream success in Bernardine ...

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Lost Man
by Jane Harper

"Strong characters, riveting plot and an honest look at life in the Australian outback make it easy to give this 5-stars!"
—BookBrowse

About the book
Join the discussion!

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Creatures
    by Crissy Van Meter

    Set on the eve of an island wedding, this provocative debut novel exerts a pull as strong as the tides.
    Reader Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    You Were There Too
    by Colleen Oakley

    Acclaimed author Colleen Oakley delivers a heart-wrenching and unforgettable love story.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win The Adventurer's Son

Publishing Soon!
The Adventurer's Son

"A brave and marvelous book. A page-turner that will rip your heart out."
--Jon Krakauer

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I A Broke, D F I

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.