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Fear Itself: A Fearless Jones Novel [Hardcover]

Walter Mosley
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 2 2003 Fearless Jones Novels
Paris Minton doesn't want any trouble. He minds his used bookstore and his own business. But in 1950s Los Angeles, sometimes trouble finds him, no matter how hard he tries to avoid it. When the nephew of the wealthiest woman in L.A. is missing and wanted for murder, she has to get involved-no matter if she can't stand him.What will her church think?She hires Jefferson T. Hill, a former sheriff of Dawson, Texas, and a tough customer, to track him down and prove his innocence.When Hill goes missing too, she tricks his friend Fearless Jones and Paris Minton into picking up the case. Paris steps inside the world of the black bourgeoisie, and it turns out to be filled with deceit and corruption. It takes everything he has just to stay alive through a case filled with twists and turns and dead ends like he never imagined. Written with the voice and vision that have made Walter Mosley one of the most entertaining writers in America, Fear Itself marks the return of a master at the top of his form.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

In this eagerly anticipated follow-up to Fearless Jones (2001), Watts bookstore owner Paris Minton and the dangerous but principled Fearless Jones tread the familiar territory mapped so successfully by Mosley's original detecting duo, Easy Rawlins and Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. The author depicts 1950s Los Angeles with his usual unerring accuracy, but a somewhat different dynamic drives his heroes. When Fearless drags the reluctant Paris into helping him look for Kit Mitchell (aka the Watermelon Man), their quest turns quickly murderous. Timid bookworm Paris gets caught in a deadly game of hide-and-seek whose players deal in lead, money and lies and include members of the fractured and fractious family of millionaire black businesswoman Winifred L. Fine. Neither Fearless nor Paris is sure who or what the various seekers are after-the missing Mitchell, a fabulous emerald pendant or a family diary-only that it's valued more than the lives lost trying to find it. A desire to aid his friend Fearless initially motivates Paris, but his journey becomes a voyage of self-discovery. While Paris possesses a narrative voice that's more literate and middle-class than that of the street-smart Easy, it should still resonate with Mosley's legions of fans.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

There's a fun conceit in the name of Mosley's Fearless Jones series: its namesake is not the protagonist but the protagonist's best friend. Simplifying the stability-versus-chaos dichotomy of Easy Rawlins and his friend Mouse (heroes of Mosley's most popular series), narrator Paris Minton is the brains to Fearless' brawn. Even more interesting, the deadly ex-soldier Fearless is good-natured and generous, while Paris, a scrawny bookseller and self-admitted coward, can be abrasive and self-serving. In the second installment, a nighttime knock on the door begins a complicated caper that starts with a missing person and ends with a half-dozen parties fighting over a valuable book. Fear Itself is infused with Mosley's typical thoughtfulness and telling details, although it's not quite as successful as his previous mysteries. Readers who love Mosley for his politics, settings, and characters may feel stinted by the generous plot machinations, which unfold largely in dialogue and employ so many characters that we don't get to know many of them well. And there's a central paradox that's addressed but not solved: if Paris is such a scaredy-cat, why does he keep plunging further into danger? After a slow beginning, the ending just misses being great when a last twist softens what would have been a perfect noir judgment on Paris. Not Mosley's best, but still plenty good. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhapsody in Noir (Continued) April 19 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
Fear Itself wonderfully lives up to the superb quality of Fearless Jones, which began this series. If you haven't read Fearless Jones, I recommend reading that book first.

Fearless Jones is the finest new mystery I have read in decades. Its qualities place it alongside classics like The Maltese Falcon, while its deep exploration of human nature causes it to transcend the mystery genre. The story's subtle psychology reminds me of an ancient Greek drama. This book represents a new peak in the imagination and the writing of the immensely talented Mr. Walter Mosley. You have a rare treat in store. Start this book early in the day. You probably won't want to put it down.

Like the frozen expressions on Greek tragedians' masks, Fearless Jones considers three kinds of human motivation: The self-interested satisfaction of the senses; the rational mind assembling the pieces of a puzzle; and good character that comes the heart. The narration builds from the rational mind and conveys all of the classic elements of the best noir mysteries. Mosley's point is that good character will naturally triumph because of the finer emotions and responses it will evoke in others. I suspect that you will agree with him, and feel uplifted by this tale despite the plot's pathway through many dark alleys of depravity.

Few writers can take you inside the mind and body of the characters like Mr. Mosley. In both Fearless Jones and Fear Itself, you will think and feel along with Paris Minton, the owner of a used bookstore in Watts in the mid-1950s. Minton is a largely self-educated black man from Louisiana who came to California to find libraries that were open to all. His store's books are discards from local libraries.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Rhapsody in Noir (Continued) April 19 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Fear Itself wonderfully lives up to the superb quality of Fearless Jones, which began this series. If you haven't read Fearless Jones, I recommend reading that book first.

Fearless Jones is the finest new mystery I have read in decades. Its qualities place it alongside classics like The Maltese Falcon, while its deep exploration of human nature causes it to transcend the mystery genre. The story's subtle psychology reminds me of an ancient Greek drama. This book represents a new peak in the imagination and the writing of the immensely talented Mr. Walter Mosley. You have a rare treat in store. Start this book early in the day. You probably won't want to put it down.

Like the frozen expressions on Greek tragedians' masks, Fearless Jones considers three kinds of human motivation: The self-interested satisfaction of the senses; the rational mind assembling the pieces of a puzzle; and good character that comes the heart. The narration builds from the rational mind and conveys all of the classic elements of the best noir mysteries. Mosley's point is that good character will naturally triumph because of the finer emotions and responses it will evoke in others. I suspect that you will agree with him, and feel uplifted by this tale despite the plot's pathway through many dark alleys of depravity.

Few writers can take you inside the mind and body of the characters like Mr. Mosley. In both Fearless Jones and Fear Itself, you will think and feel along with Paris Minton, the owner of a used bookstore in Watts in the mid-1950s. Minton is a largely self-educated black man from Louisiana who came to California to find libraries that were open to all. His store's books are discards from local libraries.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhapsody in Noir (Continued) April 19 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Fear Itself wonderfully lives up to the superb quality of Fearless Jones, which began this series. If you haven't read Fearless Jones, I recommend reading that book first.

Fearless Jones is the finest new mystery I have read in decades. Its qualities place it alongside classics like The Maltese Falcon, while its deep exploration of human nature causes it to transcend the mystery genre. The story's subtle psychology reminds me of an ancient Greek drama. This book represents a new peak in the imagination and the writing of the immensely talented Mr. Walter Mosley. You have a rare treat in store. Start this book early in the day. You probably won't want to put it down.

Like the frozen expressions on Greek tragedians' masks, Fearless Jones considers three kinds of human motivation: The self-interested satisfaction of the senses; the rational mind assembling the pieces of a puzzle; and good character that comes the heart. The narration builds from the rational mind and conveys all of the classic elements of the best noir mysteries. Mosley's point is that good character will naturally triumph because of the finer emotions and responses it will evoke in others. I suspect that you will agree with him, and feel uplifted by this tale despite the plot's pathway through many dark alleys of depravity.

Few writers can take you inside the mind and body of the characters like Mr. Mosley. In both Fearless Jones and Fear Itself, you will think and feel along with Paris Minton, the owner of a used bookstore in Watts in the mid-1950s. Minton is a largely self-educated black man from Louisiana who came to California to find libraries that were open to all. His store's books are discards from local libraries.
Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Story
This was my first Mosley novel and I really did enjoy it. It was very suspenseful with some interesting characters and a tense plot. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2004 by J. Lewis
5.0 out of 5 stars Just Listen To It
Los Angeles, 1955. Paris Minton is a retiring and none too courageous owner of a tiny bookstore. Fearless Jones is his best friend, but whenever he appears trouble is sure to... Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2004 by Louis N. Gruber
5.0 out of 5 stars A FIRST-RATE READING
Stage and cinema star Don Cheadle is an actor audiences seldom forget. His performances in "Boogie Nights" and "Traffic" leave an indelible impression, while... Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2003 by Gail Cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars A FIRST-RATE READING
Stage and cinema star Don Cheadle is an actor audiences seldom forget. His performances in "Boogie Nights" and "Traffic" leave an indelible impression, while... Read more
Published on Nov. 23 2003 by Gail Cooke
5.0 out of 5 stars Noir in '50s LA
A departure from the Easy Rawlins series, this second Fearless Jones novel, set in 1950s LA, is narrated by Fearless' sidekick, Paris Minton, a fearful, neurotic, intellectual... Read more
Published on Oct. 3 2003 by Lynn Harnett
5.0 out of 5 stars Rhapsody in Noir (Continued)
Fear Itself wonderfully lives up to the superb quality of Fearless Jones, which began this series. If you haven't read Fearless Jones, I recommend reading that book first. Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2003 by Donald Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Fearfully Exciting
Paris Minion is a coward and he knows it. Fearless Jones is fearless and he knows it. Put these two unlikely friends together, and you have a millenium remake of the odd couple... Read more
Published on Sept. 18 2003 by T. Rhythm Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Fearless Jones and Paris Minton make an unbeatable team
FEAR ITSELF allows you to get into the minds of Paris and Fearless. Paris repeatedly calls himself a coward, but his behavior belies that title. Read more
Published on Sept. 5 2003 by Janice Sims
5.0 out of 5 stars I am happy to know ya Tristan Jones
Once again a story about my main man Fearless Jones. How is it that there are no real men like Fearless? Read more
Published on Sept. 2 2003 by Newyorkdreads
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Mosley Delight!
I'm still waiting for Walter Mosley to turn out a bad book. In this outing (Paris and Fearless's second) Mosley crafts a winding plot that keeps unfolding new surprises until the... Read more
Published on Aug. 26 2003 by EarlRandy
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