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Cheaters Never Win

Illustration by Christoph NiemannIllustration by Christoph Niemann

By Marilyn Stasio, Published: January 20, 2012

A big city never looks the same once you’ve walked its streets with a hard-boiled private eye. Preferably someone as perceptive and thoughtful as Leonid McGill, the shady but honorable bruiser-for-hire in an addictive series of New York crime novels by Walter Mosley. A former mob fixer who has gone straight, McGill doesn’t so much walk the city as case it for danger. Keeping pace with him is as much an education as an adventure.

Mosley comes from the Raymond Chandler pick-up-sticks school of plot construction, so like the three previous books in this series, ALL I DID WAS SHOOT MY MAN (Riverhead, $26.95) is quirky by design. The inspired title comes from the mouth of Zella Grisham, who shot her boyfriend when she caught him in her bed — “under the quilt that my Aunt Edna made for me” — with her best friend. Although the no-good cheater survived, Zella did eight years hard time on evidence planted by McGill that falsely implicated her in the $58 million robbery of a Wall Street firm. Having engineered her early release, he thinks he has atoned for one more of the past crimes that still haunt him — until hit men start coming after Zella, looking for the heist money she supposedly squirreled away.

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