Trouble is What I Do

Trouble is What I Do

One of life’s great pleasures is reading Walter Mosley.

So, take a moment and indulge yourself in the joy that is Mosley from his newest Leonid McGill book, “Trouble Is What I Do.”

“Everything was set by ten the next morning. Thugs and socialites, blood letters and bluesmen, were all ready to read their lines and make their vows.

“I was sitting at Mardi’s desk—the only beating heart in the office complex. Some days, when you’re sitting alone with the truth, you question whether or not there’ll be a tomorrow. That was one of those days for me.”

I won’t wax all English major poetic, but “blood letters and bluesmen” should be a song lyric or the name of a band. And truthfully, Mosley is one of those rare authors where you can close your eyes, open to any page and will find a description, character name or turn of phrase to savor.

Mosley made his initial reputation with his Easy Rawlins mysteries and then, out of boredom or necessity, started a new series featuring private investigator Leonid McGill. Based upon the results, one wishes that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, when tired of Sherlock Holmes, had come up with a different character to explore. But that is unfair to Doyle, who killed off Holmes (out of boredom) only to resurrect him after the public hue and cry. In short, it’s not easy to create one reputation-cementing character. The fact that Mosley has created two is brilliance.

“Trouble Is What I Do” is a slender novel and has a lower body count and fewer sexual conquests than the typical McGill story. I don’t know if that is because Mosley is getting older or McGill is getting older or a combination of both, but the book is no less satisfying for it. The plot arises from an unknown bluesman making his way to McGill’s New York City offices and asking for his help in alerting his granddaughter to her true parentage. The request is complicated by a number of factors, including the request coming to McGill by way of a man called Ernie Eckles.

“Ernie was known in certain circles as the Mississippi Assassin—and that was not the name of a professional wrestler. He was of average height and normal build, with medium brown skin. He was as country as a bale of cotton on an unwilling child’s back. His price when I knew him was seven thousand seven hundred and forty-eight dollars to kill anyone, anywhere in North America. This price covered all of Ernie’s expenses, from the bus ticket down to the cost of three bullets.”

Opening point made. Mic dropped.

Drew Gallagher is a freelance writer in Spotsylvania.

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