Known to Evil by Walter Mosely

Walter Mosely is is highly praised for a number of things: 1) for being a bad-ass black writer,  2) for writing about horrific crimes and 3) for being one of the best American writers of all time.

I can confirm that all three of these praises are true! Known to Darkness features a black detective named Leonid McGill who straddles the line of legality dangerously. Involved with the deepest, darkest (I’m not referring to skin colour) criminals, Leonid also has friends in the police and enemies everywhere.

Mosely goes where no one dares go by actually talking about being black. Leonid plays into the stereotypes where it’s convenient because people love when their expectations are reconfirmed. Only Leonid uses all his criminal skills (lying, beating and smiling) to save a girl that a mob boss has asked him to protect at all costs. The twist is that Leonid has no idea how this mob boss knows this girl or if he will hurt her. Oh, and he’s also not allowed to speak to the girl.

What makes Mosely an amazing writer is that he can write well about horrific murders, underworld criminals and the every day nuances of life. From describing a mutilated body to how his cheating wife’s lipstick is smudged, Mosely does it with such care and flair. I will definitely read another book in the Leonid McGill series.

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