Mulholland Books/ Little, Brown and Co., $27.00, 322 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-50964-0
Walter Mosley has authored more than fifty books. He’s been appointed a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, won just about any award you could name, his books have been translated into twenty different languages and he is revered from here to kingdom come. He entertains, enlightens and thrills his readers. While at the same time, he makes them think . . . about what it’s like to be a person of color in America. He began with a character named Easy Rawlins, a 1950s-era black PI in Los Angeles, continued with another detective named Leonid McGill and also wrote twenty-five standalones, seven non-fiction titles, and even a play. His works have influenced millions. Now, in his newest novel entitled Down The River Unto The Sea, Walter Mosley has graced us with a brand-new character named Joe King Oliver. He’s a former NYPD cop who was falsely imprisoned on Rikers Island ten years previous. Now, he’s ekeing out a living as a private eye, just barely keeping his head above water, when a young woman comes in and offers him a paying job to try and exonerate a radical black journalist who’s on death row for killing two cops. She says A Free Man (his legal name), is innocent. The woman claims he was set up, forced into a kill-or-be-killed predicament by some crooked cops. This situation is so like his own that Joe King Oliver, (the name of Louis Armstrong’s mentor and first bandleader), decides to solve the pair of cases at the same time. By doing so, he hopes to free the inmate and reinstate himself with the NYPD . . . but evil still lurks in the 29,000 person police force, and as the beleaguered Joe Oliver knows, bullets are cheaper than reconcilement in this beautifully rendered and heartfelt novel from the pen of a master. There’s a reason he’s been called a national treasure. Read it and see for yourself, why the MBR never misses a new Walter Mosley novel.