Mosely, Walter. Fearless Jones. Little, Brown and Company, 2001.
Reason read: Walter Mosely was born in the month of January. Read in his honor.
Paris Minton ingeniously builds his used bookstore from discards and sales from local libraries. For a Negro to own his business in 1950s Watts, California, Minton knows he is an anomaly. What he also is, is unlucky. Soon after a beautiful woman in distress hides in his bookstore he is badly beaten and his store, burned to the ground. Who was the impossibly beautiful woman? Who would want to burn down his store and do that has anything to do with the men who beat him? There is only one thing to do, bail his good friend Fearless Jones out of prison and enlist him to solve the mystery. As Minton tells the story he builds the character of Fearless Jones through their friendship, setting up the character development in future stories.
When you read Walter Mosely expect crackling humor, fast paced action, racial truths, and lots of quick-jab violence.
As an aside, one of the things I like about Walter Mosely’s writing is that his characters use the bathroom. Not many authors include the details of common bodily functions.
Lines I liked, “Being challenged by the law was a rite of passenger for any Negro who wanted to better himself or his situation” (p 4), “The best cop I ever saw was the cop who wasn’t there” (p 87), and “These were men who had lived with Satan before coming to God, and they were still willing to venture over to the wrong side of holiness if the situation demanded it” (p 227).
Author fact: I have twelve Mosely books on my Challenge list, including two nonfiction contributions.
Book trivia: Fearless Jones is the first book in the Fearless Jones series.
Setlist: Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, and Pat Boone.
Nancy said: Pearl included Fearless Jones as part of the Fearless Jones series. She didn’t say anything beyond that about the book.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Walter Mosely: Too Good To Miss” (p 168).