All I Did Was Shoot My Man, by Walter Mosley (Softcover, 2011)|
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want a hardcopy)
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola, author of over 6,000 articles.
Normally, I do not review works of fiction. But this was a Walter Mosley
novel, and so I was happy to read and review it. I had not previously read
Mosley books in paper format, but had heard a few Mosley audio books read by a
professional narrator. In particular, they were the Easy Rawlins mysteries read
by the amazing Paul Winfield. Something about Winfield's delivery just takes
audio listening to a whole new level.
Though I thoroughly enjoyed this read, I still might get the audio version
just for the pleasure of it. Especially if Paul Winfield is the reader.
The Mosley works that I've enjoyed have a gritty, believable quality to them.
The characters sound real to my "reading ear" (and, as noted, to my listening
ear when read by Paul Winfield). See the note at the end of this review about a
believability exception in this book.
A friend visiting me from out of town
noticed this book and asked about it. I was happy to point out something unusual
about Mosley. Many authors will keep writing about a given character way past
the point of absurdity. Pictures of dry wells and dead horses being flogged come
to mind when I read those books. They should think up a new character, but they
By contrast, Mosley has produced, from his brilliant mind, several
characters. I really like Easy Rawlins and now find that Leonid McGill is
another character I like to read about.
In keeping with Mosley tradition, the
characters are lifelike rather than cartoonish. Some authors try to paint the
lead characters as nearly flawless heroes, then give you a weak villain to play
off of. Yet, it's the villain who "makes" the hero. Mosley understand this. His
villains, like his protagonists, are complex rather than cardboard.
is a potboiler with a surprise ending (that fact should not be surprising,
considering how adroit Mosley is at this sort of thing). I won't go into the
plot, as that would spoil the story for the reader. However, I will say the plot
is no simple formula-driven, crank out another novel thing. It's complex with
many seemingly unconnected trails that eventually meet, yet the reader doesn't
have to strain to keep track of who did what where. It just flows. And it flows
at a fast pace.
Adding a richness to this story is a theme I noticed. I live
in Kansas City, which is noted for Jazz. And where you have Jazz, you have Blues
artists. Some of the stuff performed locally can make you see God. The cover of
this book is blue. The characters have the kinds of lives that make me think of
the Blues while reading. These characters live the same kinds of life
complications that Blues singers sing about. Just the details are different.
If you're the kind of reader who appreciates a well-told story with characters
you care about, you will find this book hard to put down until you have finished
The believability exception
One exception to believability in
this work is the question "Is the President black?" is posed as if the answer is
"yes." It doesn't seem believable that characters this savvy could be dim enough
to buy this lie. In America, "black man" has a particular meaning, and it's a
cultural one rather than a genetic one. By no stretch of the imagination is this
Ivy League millionaire immigrant (no family history of oppression and
discrimination in this country) a "black man."
Given the massive damage
Obama's "suck capital from the economy" (and send it to Goldman Sachs, etc.)
activities have done to the job market, especially for blacks (look up the
numbers, it's shocking), I can't imagine why any working person of any color
would want to be associated with Obama (regardless of Obama's genetics, race,
etc.--non factors, IMO).
The race-baiting lying done purely to deceive blacks
into giving up their voting power to Barrack "I destroy jobs" Obama instead of
freely voting in their own best interests should not be promoted by anybody,
most especially this otherwise outstanding author.