Trouble Is What I Do
by Mosley, Walter

Detective Leonid McGill is forced to confront the ghost of his felonious past when a nonagenarian Mississippi bluesman is targeted by an infamous assassin. By the Edgar Award-winning author of Down the River Unto the Sea. 25,000 first printing.

Walter Mosley is one of America's most celebrated and beloved writers. A Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, he has won numerous awards, including an Edgar Award for best novel, the Anisfield-Wolf Award, a Grammy, a PEN USA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and several NAACP Image awards.

His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. His short fiction has appeared in a wide array of publications, including the New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Los Angeles Times Magazine, and Playboy, and his nonfiction has been published in the New York Times Book Review, the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and the Nation. He is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series, including most recently Charcoal Joe. He lives in New York City.

NYC fixer Leonid McGill, last seen in And Sometimes I Worry about You (2015), knows he's in trouble when prospective client Catfish Worry throws out the name Ernie Eckles, a legendary hit man known as the Mississippi Assassin. Catfish, an elderly bluesman, needs Leonid's help with some long-unresolved family business. The young Catfish barely survived fallout from a taboo love affair with wealthy Mayflower descendant Lucinda Pitts-Sternman. Their son, Charles, was born with light skin, and when Catfish and Lucinda parted ways, Lucinda decided the boy belonged in her world. Now Catfish needs to fulfill his promise to Lucinda that if she died first, he'd deliver a letter revealing this secret history to their granddaughter, Justine. Unfortunately, Catfish impulsively revealed the truth to Charles before contacting Justine, and his son, determined to protect his "purity," has ordered Catfish's murder. Determined to keep Catfish safe, Leonid plants himself in the converging paths of Justine and her father's assassins. Spieled in a powerful, streamlined voice, this wrenching American noir will stick with readers long after the final page. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

If you've been wondering what Leonid McGill and his family private-eye business have been up to lately, how does trying to foil a billionaire's murderous plot to conceal his black heritage sound to you? The seemingly unstoppable Mosley (John Woman, 2018, etc.) shifts his restless vision back to contemporary New York City and to McGill, the ex-boxer who's as agile at navigating both sides of the law as he was in the ring. Here, Mosley delves into the murky waters of history and racial identity as Leonid's agency is asked by one Philip "Catfish" Worry, a 94-year-old African American blues musician from Mississippi, to help him to deliver a letter to the daughter of a wealthy, ruthless, and incorrigibly racist white banker saying that he's her great-grandfather because of an illicit liaison he had with the banker's white mother. Sounds simple enough, but the aptly named Mr. Worry warns McGill that the banker is desperate enough to do anything within his considerable and far-reaching power to stop that information from getting to his daughter. ("One thing a poor sharecropper understands is that messin' with rich white people is like tipplin' poison.") When his client is wounded three hours after he takes the case, Leonid calls upon every resource available to carry out his assignment, including various characters scattered throughout Manhattan who are somehow beholden to him, whether it's a physician recovering from opioid addiction or an ill-tempered NYPD captain who dispenses the kind of stern-but-friendly admonitions police detectives have given private eyes since the days of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe. Watching McGill coolly deploy the physical and intellectual skills he'd acquired in his previous life as an underworld "fixer" provides the principal pleasure of this installment, along with Mosley's own way of making prose sound like a tender, funny blues ballad. (At one point he says a character is "as country as a bale of cotton on an unwilling child's back.") But there isn't much more than that to this mystery, which is far less complex than its setup promises. Even at less-than-peak performance, Mosley delivers enough good stuff to let you know a master's at work. Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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