Summary and book reviews of Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosley

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

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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Book Summary

From trailblazing novelist Walter Mosley: a former NYPD cop once imprisoned for a crime he did not commit must solve two cases: that of a man wrongly condemned to die, and his own.

Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD's finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island.

A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. Broken by the brutality he suffered and committed in equal measure while behind bars, his work and his daughter are the only light in his solitary life. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid to frame him those years ago, King realizes that he has no choice but to take his own case: figuring out who on the force wanted him disposed of--and why.

Running in parallel with King's own quest for justice is the case of a Black radical journalist accused of killing two on-duty police officers who had been abusing their badges to traffic in drugs and women within the city's poorest neighborhoods.

Joined by Melquarth Frost, a brilliant sociopath, our hero must beat dirty cops and dirtier bankers, craven lawyers, and above all keep his daughter far from the underworld in which he works. All the while, two lives hang in the balance: King's client's, and King's own.

1.

Looking out from my second-floor window onto Montague Street is better than the third-floor view. From here you can almost make out the lines in the faces of the hundreds of working people moving past; people who, more and more, have no reason to walk through the doors of the fancy shops and banks that have made their claim on that thoroughfare. These new businesses are like modern-day prospectors panning for gentrified, golden customers who will buy the million-dollar condos and fancy clothes, eat in the French bistros, and buy wine for a hundred dollars a bottle.

When I took this office, almost eleven years ago now, there were used-book stores, secondhand clothes shops, and enough fast food to feed that displaced army of workers in Brooklyn Heights. That's when Kristoff Hale offered me a twenty-year renewable lease because another cop, Gladstone Palmer, had overlooked his son Laiph Hale's involvement in the brutal attack on a woman; a woman whose only offense was to ...

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  • award image

    Edgar Awards
    2019

Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

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.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

Full Review (580 words).

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Media Reviews

Charles Perry, LitHub
Mosley's newest standalone has the markings of a classic hard-boiled New York novel... It's also a poignant page-turner whose larger themes--corruption, institutional racism, and the horrors of solitary confinement--speak to some of today's most pressing issues.

AARP
A heady stew of racial politics and seedy characters that Mosley's fans are sure to eat up.

Kirkus
It's getting to be a bigger blues band on Mosley's stage, with Joe King Oliver now sitting in with Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill. But as long as it sounds sweet and smoky, let the good times roll.

Library Journal
"[An] engaging standalone ... Mosley fans will welcome another imaginative page-turning from a mystery grand master.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. [An] excellent standalone ... The novel's dedication--to Malcolm, Medgar, and Martin--underlines the difference that one man can make in the fight for justice.

Booklist
Starred Review. Rekindles some of the remarkable energy that drove the early Rawlins novels... It's the perfect moment for Mosley to unveil an exciting new hero and a series set in the present and confronting the issues that drive today's headlines.

Reader Reviews

Michael Haughton

Down the River unto the Sea by Walter Mosely
The story started off with the usual description of the layout of buildings and business places. In fact, one such businesses was owned by one of the main characters. That's when Kristoff Hale offered a twenty-year renewable lease because another...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

A Second Career as a Private Investigator

Private InvestigatorIn Walter Mosley's crime novel, Down the River Unto the Sea, the protagonist, Joe King Oliver, is a former NYC police detective who starts his own private investigative agency as a follow up career. In real life this choice is not uncommon.

Due to the generally early retirement opportunities within most public law enforcement departments, many police officers can retire as much as twenty years younger than civilians in the private sector. At such a relatively young age many, if not most, will pick up a second career. Options are varied for people with law enforcement training and experience, including but not limited to work as security guards, insurance investigators, armed guards, paramilitary or private detectives either under ...

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