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Walter Mosley reads from latest Leonid McGill novel, a complicated tale

And Sometimes I Wonder About YouWalter Mosley has been called “America’s Blackest Jewish Writer.” His father was black and mother Jewish and even though he self-identifies as black, he speaks often about his Jewish heritage.

So, it’s fitting he will be at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center to talk about his new crime novel featuring ex-boxer and P.I. Leonid McGill, as well as being Jewish and why he identifies with Isaac Bashevis Singer.

McGill, a short, black man who still works out at the gym, is leading a messy life in his fifth outing. He meets a beautiful woman who has stolen a valuable ring from a mobster and embarks on a torrid affair with her even though his wife is hospitalized after trying to commit suicide. Also, he’s in love with Aura, who manages his apartment building, but they’re taking a break and he misses her.

When McGill turns away a homeless man who wants him to track down a woman with a secret, and the man is later found dead, McGill takes on his case out of guilt for the way he treated the guy.

A third thread in this complicated plot — or plots — is the involvement of McGill’s son, Twill, with a dangerous, Fagan-like figure who is running hundreds of young people in various scams and killings.

McGill is an interesting mix of integrity when it comes to his cases but less morality when it comes to his love life — or maybe sex life would be a better word. But he’s likable and cares for Twill and his other adult kids.

“And Sometimes I Wonder About You” has a lot of moving parts and readers have to pay attention to the characters and what’s going on.

IF YOU GO

What: Walter Mosley reads from “And Sometimes I Wonder About You” in Twin Cities Jewish Book Series.

When, where: 7 p.m. Thursday, St. Paul Jewish Community Center, 1375 St. Paul Ave., St. Paul

Admission: $25

Information: 651-698-0751

Publisher, price: Doubleday, $26.95

(via Pioneer Press)

Shelf Awareness for Readers “And Sometimes I Wonder About You” Review

In 2009, when Walter Mosley launched his Leonid McGill detective series, there was some question as to how well the historical ambience of his Los Angeles and the in-your-face investigative style of his Easy Rawlins would travel to a new protagonist in contemporary New York City. With And Sometimes I Wonder About You (his fifth McGill novel, after All I Did Was Shoot My Man), Mosley proves that his talent and feel for the city streets–their violence, outsiders, racism, sex and chicanery–travel just fine. McGill is a short, mid-50s PI with a checkered criminal past, a pugilist’s big hands, friends in high and low places, and a tendency to find trouble when a pretty woman catches his attention.

In this book, his wife, Katrina, has been institutionalized after a suicide attempt; his long-time girlfriend, Aura, has told him to stay away out of respect for Katrina’s struggles; and a ravenous new young client, Marella, gives him all the bedroom action he can handle. Since running off with her big-bling engagement ring, Marella is hiding from her former fiancé’s hired thugs who have been threatening her life to get it back. Meanwhile, McGill’s adopted son, Twill, is in danger from a subterranean juvenile crime ring, led by a ruthless gangster, Pied Piper. And a laid-off accountant needs protection from Boston assassins because of the seedy dirt he accidentally uncovered about their wealthy boss’s son. McGill sums up his predicament: “There were three groups of killers after me or mine and three women I had feelings for. None of these people stayed in the right place or were likely to wait their turn.” Bodies pile up, wrongs are righted, lessons are learned. When Mosley’s good, he’s really good. And Sometimes I Wonder About You is one of his good ones.

—Bruce Jacobs, founding partner, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kan.

Discover: Mosley’s fifth Leonid McGill mystery features plenty of New York City crime and McGill punishment to keep readers going late into the night.

Doubleday, $26.95 hardcover, 9780385539180

(via Shelf-Awareness.com)