When The Thrill Is Gone by Walter Mosley
Publisher: The Penguin Group
Publication Date: March 8, 2011 (first published January 13, 2011)
Reviewed by Chrystal Dorsey
Leonid McGill is back, in the third-and most enthralling and ambitious-installment in Walter Mosley’s latest New York Times- bestselling series, The Thrill Is Gone. As he did in his first two Leonid McGill mysteries, the bestselling The Long Fall and Known to Evil, Walter Mosley brings even greater nuance and insight to Leonid McGill, an already classic noir hero. Not only does Walter Mosley create a story with a character so powerful readers will have a difficult time putting the book down, he also creates a vivid and engrossing world of a New York where motives are always suspect and nothing is as it seems.
Leonid McGill, is a tough 55 year old, philosophic private detective – who still works out regularly, his wife, Katrina is having an affair with a younger guy. He has a girlfriend, Aura who has chosen to longer be intimate with him – at least for the time being. His good friend, Gordo (whose presence in the story escapes me) is dying of cancer and staying in the den at Leonid’s house. And to complicate his personal life even more, his stepson, Twill, has dropped out of school for mysteriously lucrative pursuits.
The story springs forth after a beautiful young woman walks into McGill’s office with a stack of cash. She tells him she is an artist, who has escaped from poverty via a marriage to a Billionaire, but is now in fear of her life and claims it is her very own husband who is plotting her demise – the same fate she insist his first two wives met. Although McGill knows better to believe every word a potential client says, taking on the mesmerizing woman with a ghetto sense of style, was just not a job he can afford to turn away.
At first readers may think, this is a simple case of Leonid McGill protecting a client, Chrystal Tyler from her very own homicide, that she alleges her husband plans to commit…but as this mystery begins to unfold, and the suspense intensifies, readers will discover that there’s a lot more drama than initially meets the eye- and not everyone is who they claim to be, nor are they as innocence as they profess.
The pace of the story is quick, with a number of side stories that somehow don’t get in the way of the main story – as a matter of fact some of the characters and the issues surrounding them are downright comical, case-in-point: Chrystal’s husband, Cyril believes he has the ability to will people dead with his mind – had any other writer added this to a novel of this depth, it probably would have just been silly, but Mosley’s gifted ability to include it as an interesting character flaw allowed it to flow with the story as though it were plausible. Even the secondary character’s names emphasizes Mosley’s stylish and gifted flare for words; within the pages, readers will run across characters such as: Hush – a former hit man, an institutionalized character named, Azure Freshstone-Chambers, a Lieutenant Kitteridge, Allondra North, Fawn David, Mr. Shelfly, Tatyana, and a host of others.
This isn’t an awesome novel, nor is it great story, but it is entertaining and a lot of interesting and weird things happen in this story and Mosley is such a wonderful and gifted wordsmith that you don’t notice that it lacks something you can’t quite pinpoint, until you finish reading the book – and that is, it seems to lack originality. In the meanwhile, Mosley keeps readers captivated with his elegant style of writing throughout the course of the novel. Because, When the Thrill is Gone is Walter Mosley at his story-telling best – I think this is a worthwhile and easy read that has appeal for intermediate and adult readers, alike.
Review copy provided by publisher.