Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Review of the Day: Fear of the Dark

Although this is called "a Fearless Jones" novel, the second novel in this series, Fear of the Dark, is really a book about Fearless's friend, Paris Minton. Minton is a used book dealer and amateur sleuth in 1950s Los Angeles. His cousin, "Useless" S. Grant, pulls him into a mystery that reaches from the black community of post-WWII Watts to the white world of moneyed institutions. The book is chock-a-block with interesting characters with clever nicknames, big-finned American cars, jazz clubs, and pool halls. Sound familiar? It is the basic recipe for Moseley’s Easy Rawlins series. Unfortunately, while the Rawlins series was snappy and fresh, Fear of the Dark seems to me like a stale rehash. It never really takes off, it didn’t keep my attention, and Minton’s digressions about the books he's reading (all MAJOR literary classics) come off as barely-relevant intellectual showmanship. I know that this is a very popular series, but I was disappointed. The Easy Rawlins series is an all-time favorite of mine and I gobbled them all up. But I don't see giving this one a second chance.

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