#Review Down The River Unto The Sea by Walter Mosley 5* #CrimeFiction #NewRelease @orionbooks @orion_crime #AmericanNoir @mulhollandbooks @wnbooks

Down The River Unto The Sea by Walter Mosley
Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD’s finest investigators until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault, a charge that lands him in the notorious Rikers Island prison.

A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid by someone in the NYPD to frame him all those years ago, King realises that he has no choice but to take his own case: figuring out who on the force wanted him disposed of – and why.

At the same time, King must investigate the case of black radical journalist Leonard Compton, aka A Free Man, accused of killing two on-duty police offices who had been abusing their badges to traffic drugs and women into the city’s poorest neighbourhoods.

In pursuit of justice, our hero must beat dirty cops and even dirtier bankers. All the while, two lives hang in the balance: Compton’s, and King’s own.

My review:

‘My maternal grandmother always tells me that every man gets what he deserves’

13 years ago Joe King Oliver was a cop. Not just any cop, one of the NYPD’s finest officers. When he is framed for a sexual assault and thrown in Rikers. Jail isn’t easy for any man, but it’s certainly not easy, when you come face to face with convicts you apprehended. Rikers will chew up and spit out dirty cops or leave them for dead……

‘Just a few days and I’d switched allegiances from cop to criminal. I thought that was the worst thing….. but I was wrong’

We then learn of Joe’s present-day life. The life he has managed to build after his police record and good name was ruined. He is now a private detective, working mostly mistress cases or whatever comes his way. His teenage daughter Aja helps him with his business and he has an often-volatile relationship with his ex-wife Monica. His best friend and fellow cop Goldstone, has helped him get on his feet and thrown some cases his way. But his life changes the day he receives a letter from his alleged victim. She claims she was forced into testifying and now she has turned her life around, she wants to make amends.
Joe is given the chance to clear his name!

‘The law is a flexible thing – on both sides of the line – influenced by circumstances, characters, and of course wealth or lack thereof’

At the same time Joe is also accosted to take on the case of Leonard Compton aka A Free Man. The case is one that strikes at the heart of what Joe believes.
As Leonard claims he was set up my two dirty cops.
Eugene ‘Yolo’ Valence and Anton Pratt are the two cops in question. When Joe does some digging, he quickly learns of their criminal endeavours, selling drugs to kids and kids to child molesters. It’s a murky world we live in and one Joe can’t clean-up on his own!

“I learned that reading is important, that law is an ever-changing variable equation, and that a man is fool if he works alone” – Joe

The introduction of new characters, is something always relished in any Walter Mosley novel. They always have a backstory and usually described with a witty one liner such as ‘wise as a prophet and crafty as a fox’. Mosley’s writing is second to none!
Walter Mosley writes about his characters with such exceptional detail, you get the impression he has observed people and the various ways they carry themselves.

‘There comes a time when a man has to stand up and be heard; a time when their hearts do not outweigh his freedom’ – Joe

The plot has added suspicion, suspense and mistrust. When Joe also discovers the downfall of his past, may be linked to another dirty cop! Where does he go from here? How does he solve corruption that has spread with the police force?

“I learned that anyone can be brought low no matter how high or powerful they are”

The novel explores Joe’s past, Yolo & Pratt’s child victims, police corruption and the real meaning of justice. This is without a doubt diverse literature for the intelligent eye. The dialogue is first-rate, the characters are authentic not ‘perfect’ examples but flawed real people with deep pain. The novel continues to develop right to the last page. I love the way Walter Mosley writes. He adds his iconic style and wisdom to every sentence.
In my opinion, he really is a writing legend! 5*

“You have to love what you do or you end up hating yourself” – Joe

Walter Mosley
Via Publisher

#Review Losing Leah by @suewelfare 4* @TheMirrorBooks #CrimeFiction #Thriller #WhereIsLeah

Losing Leah by Sue Welfare


On a cold, dark February morning, Chris and Leah Hills stop for coffee at an isolated service station a stone’s throw from the Welsh Borders. While Leah heads inside, Chris locks the car and goes in to order their drinks. Minutes pass. Chris waits and waits, but Leah doesn’t come back.

When Sergeant Mel Daley and her boss, Detective Inspector Harry Baker, arrive to begin a search for the missing woman, their investigation calls everything into question. Is she alive? Did she leave the service station with someone else? Did Leah ever even leave Norfolk? While her husband becomes more frantic, the pair begin to unravel a tangle of dark secrets from the past.

My review:

Losing Leah is a debut crime thriller by an established author. The novel centres around the disappearance of Leah Hills and her husband’s insistence that she has come to harm.
The novel opens as security staff attempt to comfort a man stating,
“I can’t find my wife” & “you have to find her”.

When the police arrive at Hoden Gap services. We the reader discover the formalities of missing persons cases. That there are 80+ missing people per day. That each case is assessed for its level of risk and the greater the risk the more complex the case and the more resources that are available.

What happens when a simply weekend away, turns into a living nightmare….

The police officers decide there are four possible solutions with the case. That either Leah left of her own volition, she was abducted, she is still present at the services or that she was never there at all. They hope she is located soon and this was all just one big misunderstanding. But things are rarely as simple as they appear at first…..

If in doubt, think murder

None of the staff at the services, report a single sighting of Leah that day. Although the CCTV images are poor, none lead to visual image of Leah either. Which just leaves the police to gather information and evidence from the husband Chris Hills.
Chris is rude, abrupt and obnoxious. I instantly disliked his character, I found him to be controlling and domineering with his attitudes towards his wife.
But this alone, doesn’t make him a killer.
He tells the officers that They were travelling from their home in Norfolk, to their holiday cottage in Wales. That although Leah was needy, weak and needed ‘looking after’ she was not unhappy about their trip. He reports that she had only recently stopped taking her antidepressant medication, after the death of her best friend 18 months ago. Every time Chris spoke, I found myself loathing his character more and more.

The police organise a full-scale search of the area and begin to look into, EVERY aspect of the couple’s lives. Chris hands them the keys to the properties and car. Is he confidant or cocky? One thing is for certain, the police will leave no stone unturned to find a vulnerable woman.The novel is an interesting exploration into ‘what goes on behind closed doors’ and surrounding people the couple interacted with. The ending was cleverly done, but I felt there could have been more depth and details. The greatest element that kept me hooked, was the theme that being an oddball or unlikeable doesn’t necessarily make someone a killer. I kept reading on and on trying to guess the plot and conjuring up various theories. 4*

Sue Welfare