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    Review of WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE by Walter Mosley


    Riverhead, March 2011

    The woman in Leonid McGill's office says she's afraid for her life. Her husband's two earlier wives both died strangely and her husband, she says, thinks he can control the world with his mind. She's in fear for her own life. The woman may be in fear, but McGill thinks there are a lot of lies in his client's claims. Still, he's taken her money so it's up to him to find the truth.

    The truth, it turns out, is a lot more complicated than the simple story. For one thing, there's the identity of the woman herself... and her motivation. For another, their's Leonid's complicated and not especially functional life (with his wife carrying on an affair, his lover unwilling to spend much time with him, his son pursuing a subway counterfeiting scheme, his friend dying of cancer, and McGill's conflicted relationship with his dead father). Like the good boxer (and detective) he is, McGill bangs away at the problems, trying to uncover what's hidden while protecting those who need protection.

    Walter Mosley (see more reviews of mysteries by Mosley) creates a compelling set of characters and an intriguing mystery as both the reader and McGill are forced to peel layers of desception to discover the truth. Mosley is a strong writer and the African-American setting intrigues me. Although WHEN THE THRILL IS GONE kept me involved and was a page-turning experience, I did find myself losing sympathy for the characters from time to time. McGill's wife made a point to ask him to be there for dinner one night and he agreed, yet he didn't bother showing up and we never learned of any repercussions. Likewise, I wasn't sure where McGill's brief affair with a client went or how it added to the story. From the standpoint of the overall novel, these aren't huge quibbles but they did reduce my enjoyment a bit.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 2/19/12

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