Reviews for All I Did Was Shoot My Man

Booklist Reviews 2011 December #2
*Starred Review* Leonid McGill has spent a life in crime but has managed to avoid the long arm of the law. Now he works as a de facto investigator, valued because of his access to the criminal underworld and his familiarity with the police. Years ago, Zella Grisham found her lover, Harry Tangelo, in bed with another woman. Zella had no memory of shooting Harry, but all the evidence pointed to her. After seven years in prison, Zella is out and looking to clear her name. Who better to help than Leonid? He begins the investigation but is constantly distracted by his own dissolving family. By tacit agreement, his wife, Katrina, has taken many lovers, looking for a man to take her away from Leonid. No one has fit the bill, leaving her frustrated and depressed. Now she's drinking far too much. One of McGill's sons is moving in with an ex-prostitute, the other has a talent for crime, and McGill's father, long thought dead, resurfaces under an alias. Mosley has long used the crime novel as a framework for poignant explorations of the human condition. McGill is a dogged, tough investigator, but those qualities aren't necessarily going to hold his family together. Compassion, wisdom, and forgiveness are needed and prove as tough to find as Harry Tangelo's real killer. Mosley is a master, and this is among his best. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Mosley always draws a crowd, but his last few novels have been less than his best. A return to form here, backed by strong marketing, should signal strong sales. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2012 February
Atoning for sins of the past

You have to love a title like All I Did Was Shoot My Man, Walter Mosley’s latest work featuring pragmatic Big Apple P.I. Leonid McGill. Indeed, although Zella Grisham may have shot her man eight years before, she had nothing to do with the $58 million heist a week before the murder, despite the fact that some of the purloined loot turned up in her storage space. McGill knows exactly how the stolen funds found their way into Grisham’s possession, and it is a guilty secret that has eaten at him ever since she went to jail for both crimes. Now Grisham has done her time, and she wants to reconnect with the young daughter she hasn’t seen since she went to prison. Problem is, the girl has been adopted, and the adoptive parents seem to have dropped off the face of the earth. Re-enter Leonid McGill, P.I., to expiate some of his prior sins—pro bono. As is always the case with Mosley novels, All I Did Was Shoot My Man bridges the broad river between genre fiction and elegant literature, combining the best elements of both: gritty first person narrative; complex familial relationships; and themes of greed, revenge and the things we do for love.

Stetson-brimmed U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, the eponymous hero of Elmore Leonard’s Raylan, hails from Harlan County, Kentucky—which was coal-mining country back in the day. Now that the mines have shut down, many of the locals have turned to marijuana for their source of income. A few have taken a more deviant path—the harvesting and sale of human organs—and nobody’s organs are safe, not even Raylan’s. The tale unfolds in true Leonard fashion. It’s not so much a story with a beginning, a denouement and a resolution, but rather a snapshot of a few days in the life of a lawman. Included therein are many storylines which might connect—or not; a plot resolution or two firmly planted in the middle of the narrative; and the droll commentary of both the author and his chief characters. (When challenged to a parking lot fight, Raylan responds: “You don’t see me right away, practice falling down until I get there.”) As usual, Leonard’s story is part Western, mystery and farce—a genre-transcending romp guaranteed to please new readers and long-time fans alike.

Although there are many suspense novels set in ancient Egypt, it is uncommon to find a mystery set in modern-day Cairo, especially one like Parker Bilal’s The Golden Scales, in which the detective protagonist is a displaced police inspector on the lam from war-torn Sudan. Hired by corrupt entrepreneur Saad Hanafi to find missing soccer star Adil Romario, P.I. Makana is plunged into a world of Russian gangsters, jihadists and the machinations of Cairo’s power elite. At the center of this desert whirlwind is a desperate English mom, back in the Egyptian capital after years of enforced exile, seeking any sort of information on the fate of her missing daughter, by now a young woman. When the Englishwoman is brutally murdered in her seedy hotel room, Makana is forced to confront his own ghosts in ways he could never have predicted. The first in a new series, The Golden Scales is one of those rare books in which the setting serves as a character itself: Cairo is portrayed as a living, breathing entity whose very existence shapes the lives of those residing within its confines.

What is a parent’s worst nightmare? The quick answer, I imagine, would be the loss of a child. Author William Landay takes the question one step further in his latest thriller, Defending Jacob. What if your child is accused of murder, and you think there is the slimmest possibility he might be guilty? Andy Barber, assistant D.A. for a suburban Massachusetts county, is a devoted family man. Raised in a broken home, he vowed early on to bring love and stability to his wife and son. For the most part, that plan has worked out pretty well. Except now, when a young neighbor lies dead in the nearby park, and Andy’s son Jacob looks good for the murder. The incontrovertible evidence: Jacob’s bloody fingerprint on the dead boy’s jacket. For perhaps the first time in his life, Andy finds himself “batting for the other team”—on the side of the defense rather than the prosecution. As his family crumbles under the pressure of the trial and its mounting evidence, Andy struggles to find a balance between objectivity and loyalty. All the while, there is this tiny nagging doubt . . . . Defending Jacob is one of the most disturbing books of the year, and soon to be one of the most talked-about.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 December #1
The release of a convicted killer who doesn't happen to be a thief offers another crack at redemption for impossibly compromised New York private eye Leonid McGill (When the Thrill Is Gone, 2011, etc.). Zella Grisham is the only client McGill's ever had whom he knows to be innocent. Who could know better than him, when gambler Stumpy Brown, worried that the NYPD would link him to the $58 million Rutgers Assurance heist, hired McGill nine years ago to frame her for the theft? As Stumpy pointed out at the time, Zella made the perfect patsy because she was already headed for jail after shooting her lover Harry Tangelo when she found him in bed with Minnie Lesser, her former best friend. Now that McGill's lawyer, Breland Lewis, has wangled Zella's release, the frame-up isn't looking like such a good idea. Harry Tangelo has disappeared. So has the daughter Zella gave up for adoption. There's no trace of the missing $58 million, and McGill has no idea where to look for the loot. On the plus side, everyone he runs into, from low-rent grifter Sweet Lemon Charles to Rutgers bigwig Johann Brighton, acts as if they're involved in some sort of felonious activity. As usual, the list of suspicious characters extends to McGill's own family, even before they're nearly killed by a pair of nameless intruders. His wife Katrina, who pulled the plug on their sex life years ago, seems determined to drink herself to death. His blood son, Dimitri, has hooked up with unsuitable Tatyana Baranovich, an ex-hooker from Belarus, and plans to move in with her. McGill just hopes he can do a better job rescuing Katrina's son Twill from the life of crime he seems destined for than he's doing rescuing Zella Grisham from the consequences of the crime she never committed. Overplotted even by Mosley's standards, with precious little chance to savor each scene and speaker before they're hustled offstage to make room for the next. Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews 2011 November #2

In this fourth Leonid McGill mystery (after When the Thrill Is Gone), Mosley uses his exceptional storytelling skills to depict how his conflicted and compassionate PI sabotages himself as he battles to redeem himself and make amends to his family and coworkers. McGill is hired to investigate a strange case in which Zella Grisham admits to shooting her scheming husband after catching him in bed with another woman. Yet she's fuzzy about the $80,000 found in her closet that was part of a $6 million heist. Out on the mean streets of Manhattan, McGill reacquaints himself with his estranged, alcoholic wife; his misguided, eldest son, who left college to live with a prostitute; and his youngest son, who chooses to work as McGill's partner. VERDICT General readers and Mosley fans will appreciate his characteristically fine writing as well as the internal struggles Mosley inflicts on his protagonists. [See Prepub Alert, 7/18/11.]--Jerry P. Miller, Cambridge, MA

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2011 October #5

In Mosley's fourth Leonid McGill mystery (after 2011's When the Thrill Is Gone), the best in the series to date, the New York City PI tries to atone for a misdeed from his checkered past. Eight years earlier, McGill helped frame Zella Grisham for a part in the biggest Wall Street robbery in history-- million stolen from Rutgers Assurance Corp. Zella was guilty of shooting her man, Harry Tangelo, when she found him in bed with her best friend, Minnie Lesser, but the eight years she served were due to the frame, not the shooting. McGill manages to get Zella released, setting in motion a chain of deadly events. Meanwhile, his difficult family life reaches full boil with each of his three adult children, Twill, Dimitri, and Shelly, as well as with his hard-drinking wife, Katrina. Unraveling the truth behind the robbery and the unrecovered millions tests McGill's skills to the utmost in this complex, satisfying entry. (Jan.)

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