Little, Brown; Jun 2001; 24.95; 320 pp.
In 1954 Watts, Paris Minton feels very proud of himself because though he is a rare black shopkeeper, his used bookstore makes enough money to pay his bills. However, his world bursts apart when Elana Love enters his establishment and asks Paris a few questions about a former neighbor, a local church headed by Reverend Grove, that recently moved out in the middle of the night. A few minutes later, Leon Douglas enters the bookstore and begins beating Paris up while asking where Elana went. Only the arrival of neighborhood kids keeps Paris from a thrashing that could have killed him. After Leon leaves, Elana reappears from her hiding place.
Paris drives her to meet a Sol Tannebaum, but soon a car follows and fires shots at Leon. They escape and take a hotel room for the night. Elana seduces Paris, but in the morning she is gone and so is his money, credit cards, and car. When he goes to his store, he sees a burned out structure. Knowing he needs help, he bails out his friend FEARLESS JONES. Now the action begins.
Walter Mosley is the top dog when it comes to historical urban noirs with a sense of humor. His latest tale, FEARLESS JONES, is fabulous as he highlights a piece of Americana through his strong cast. The players line up early, but that just adds to the excitement of a top-notch thriller. Hopefully Mr. Mosley will return us to Paris for more fearless stories of 1950s America.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner