Book Quote:

“I found that as life went on, the problems mounted and their solutions only served to make things worse.

I didn’t have a case at that moment which meant that no money was coming in. When I did get a job, that just meant that somebody was going to get hurt, one way or the other – maybe both. And even then I might not collect my detective’s fee.

A good friend was dying in my eleventh-floor apartment, and my wife was having an affair with a man half her age. And those were just the devils I knew.”

Book Review:

Review by Bonnie Brody (MAR 9, 2011)

Walter Mosley has created a private eye with a unique take on the world in Leonid McGill, son of Tolstoy McGill and brother to Nikita. Leonid’s Father was a communist activist, a man for the worker, with a philosopher’s tongue. When the Thrill is Gone opens with Leonid having been estranged from his father for many years. However, Leonid often refers to his father’s adages to get him through life. And, like Dr. House, Leonid believes that everybody lies. “Almost everything you know or ever hear is a lie. Advertisements, politicians’ promises, children’s claims of accomplishments and innocence…your own memory.”

This mystery opens when a woman named Chrystal Tyler walks into Leonid’s office claiming that her husband Cyril is planning to kill her. She also believes he is having an affair because she can hear him talking to a woman on the phone late at night and he has lost a lot of weight lately. Leonid comes to find out that this woman, who claims to be Chrystal Tyler is really her sister Shawna. On top of that, Shawna is murdered soon after retaining Leonid’s services, leaving five orphaned children. Leonid sets out to find Chrystal and to save her from possibly being murdered.

While he searches for Chrystal, he often philosophizes, utilizing pugilistic metaphors from his time in the ring and philosophical tidbits he picked up from his father. He worries about the lives he impacts. “I’d never been caught or convicted, not so much as indicted for the lives I’d shattered.” As he searches for Chrystal, he finds out that Chrystal’s husband has been married twice before and both of his wives have died mysteriously. Leonid has good reason to suspect Cyril Tyler of murder.

The story is quite complex with a huge array of characters and sub-plots. Leonid’s personal life is not going too well either. His closest friend Gordo is dying of cancer in Leonid’s apartment. Leonid’s wife is having another affair, this time with a man half her age. His sons are giving him trouble. Dimitri is in Paris with the ex-girlfriend of a Russian gun runner. His other son, Twill, who is Leonid’s favorite, is making a lot of money and not in an honest way. Leonid lets the reader know that his wife thinks she pulled a fast one on him as two of his three children are not his by blood, but are the children of other men. That doesn’t matter much to Leonid who is wise to the scam. Dimitri is the only one of his children related to him by blood. He often wonders why he has remained married to his wife for so long. He has a way with the ladies and has a special one, Aura, who he loves. He has offered to divorce his wife and marry Aura but Aura is afraid that Leonid will die a violent death. In a previous book in this series, it was Aura who nursed Leonid back to health.

If you like your mysteries filled with quips, lots of sharp turns and rabbit trails, this is one for you. I especially liked Leonid’s character and enjoyed looking at life from his perspective. I found the huge cast of characters somewhat confusing but focused primarily on the ones I thought were part of the big hunt. I think the book would have been better with fewer characters. Overall, however, this is a topnotch thriller worthy of the author.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-0from 32 readers
PUBLISHER: Riverhead Hardcover (March 8, 2011)
REVIEWER: Bonnie Brody
EXTRAS: Wikipedia page on Walter Mosley
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:

Blonde Faith and books in the Easy Rawlins series

Fear of the Dark and others in the Paris Minton & Fearless Jones

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (Socrates Fortlow)

The Man in My Basement


Workin’ on the Chain Gang


Easy Rawlins Mysteries:

Fortlow novels:

Paris Minton and Fearless Jones Mysteries:

Leonid McGill, P.I. series:


Movies from books:

March 9, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags:  · Posted in: Character Driven, Class - Race - Gender, Mystery/Suspense, New York City, Sleuths Series, y Award Winning Author

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