Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bookmarks: Fear Itself

Fear Itself is the second in Walter Mosely's Fearless Jones series. I wish I had read the first book first and I wish I had read this book faster. This book does not have gaps I suspect only the first novel would have cleared up, but there are a number of characters here and I found myself a bit lost trying to remember them all. But that may not be a fault of the novel, but the fact that I had to read it in fits and starts.

The narrative is presented by Paris Minton, friend of Fearless Jones, a man who is both willing to help out a damsel in distress and kill in cold blood those who get in his way. Paris is a humble bookworm trying to stay out of trouble and quietly run his bookstore. The plot centers on family secrets and a one of a kind book Paris would love to have for himself. Along the way a number of people are killed and Paris comes pretty close, a fact that may get in the way of his friendship with Fearless.

As I mentioned, I should have set this book aside and read it as close to straight through as I could. But once I got the hang of who was who, I found myself entralled by the story, but also with the narrator. Paris is a relunctant hero, made braver only because of his friend, but one who also struggles with his desires and what he knows is the right thing to do. Mosely had drawn a character somewhat like Fearless in the person of Mouse (from the Easy Rawlins series), but Paris is different from Easy Rawlins. Both may well want to stay out of trouble and lead their own quiet lives, but Paris is even more withdrawn and bookish. I found myself relating to him more and more.

I probably would have read the first in this series had my local library carried it, but this does okay on its own. I look forward to reading more about these finely drawn characters.

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