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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 Just Listen To It Feb. 10 2004
Format:Hardcover
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 follow. Milo Sweet is a conniving, double-dealing bail bondsman and disbarred lawyer. Kit Mitchell is missing. That's where the trouble starts, for it seems everyone is looking for Kit, and looking for him turns out to be extremely dangerous. And there are many, many more characters--the eccentric, the mad, the wealthy, the warm-hearted, the wicked.
Things go from strange to dangerous to deadly as Paris and Fearless navigate the web of deceit and double-crossing spun by the characters. So, what is the big secret everyone's looking for? Who is Kit Mitchell and why does everyone want to find him? Will Paris, the fearful book-lover, survive this dangerous web of intrigue?
Author Walter Mosley is a brilliant writer with a unique African-American voice. If the story doesn't make complete sense, if the plot doesn't quite hang together, if the characters are hard to keep track of, well, who cares? You can just listen to this book as if you were listening to jazz. It just rolls right along from one outrageous complication to another. The sentences, the words, the scenes, the dialogue--unbelievably good. I recommend this book, but, don't try to hard to follow the plot. Just listen to it! Reviewed by Louis N. Gruber
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5.0 out of 5 stars A FIRST-RATE READING Nov. 23 2003
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Stage and cinema star Don Cheadle is an actor audiences seldom forget. His performances in "Boogie Nights" and "Traffic" leave an indelible impression, while his Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Sammy Davis, Jr. on HBO's "The Rat Pack" was more than well deserved. His training as a classical actor comes to the fore in his energetic, suspense filled reading of the latest Fearless Jones adventure.
Listeners are transported to 1950s California - Los Angeles to be exact where Fearless enlists the help of Watts resident and bookstore owner Paris Minton. A good looking woman (of course) wants Fearless to locate her husband, and he wants Paris to join in the hunt.
In true Mosley style it's not too long before Paris finds himself at odds with one of the richest black women in L.A. He's at a loss to know from whom to hide as danger closes in on him from all directions.
The plot is complex as he careens from mishap to close call to almost-gotcha.
Here's a first rate detective story spun by a master.
Was this review helpful to you?
5.0 out of 5 stars A FIRST-RATE READING Nov. 23 2003
By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Stage and cinema star Don Cheadle is an actor audiences seldom forget. His performances in "Boogie Nights" and "Traffic" leave an indelible impression, while his Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Sammy Davis, Jr. on HBO's "The Rat Pack" was more than well deserved. His training as a classical actor comes to the fore in his energetic, suspense filled reading of the latest Fearless Jones adventure.
Listeners are transported to 1950s California - Los Angeles to be exact where Fearless enlists the help of Watts resident and bookstore owner Paris Minton. A good looking woman (of course) wants Fearless to locate her husband, and he wants Paris to join in the hunt.
In true Mosley style it's not too long before Paris finds himself at odds with one of the richest black women in L.A. He's at a loss to know from whom to hide as danger closes in on him from all directions.
The plot is complex as he careens from mishap to close call to almost-gotcha.
Here's a first rate detective story spun by a master.
- Gail Cooke
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5.0 out of 5 stars Noir in '50s LA Oct. 3 2003
Format:Hardcover
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 Watts bookshop owner. Fearless, aptly named, has a soft side for women in trouble, so when a woman asks him to find her husband, a man Fearless has been working for, he enlists Paris' help.
Paris shudders at the thought, but his big friend brings out the courage in him - "being friends with him was like having one of God's second cousins as a pal" - and besides, a white man shows up looking for Fearless. "I needed to know if my friend's problems were going to spill over onto me."
Mosley writes a well-plotted mystery, full of twists and murders and double crossings, but within the mystery framework he explores nuances of character and the ways black people get by in the white people's world. Inarticulate, dangerous Fearless, living day-to-day, is a generous, principled man with an uncanny ability to read people, while Paris, the literate one, fights a craven, selfish streak. Paris is reflective though, and while not always proud of himself, he knows what he can live with.
The plot takes us through the alleys and backstreets of LA, to bail bondsmen, aggressive cops and LA's wealthiest black businesswoman who has suffered a robbery so devastating she won't talk about it. As always, Mosley's writing is eloquent and compact, atmospheric and gritty. Grasping family members, racist cops and lowlifes of both colors, as well as the fluid Fearless and the twitchy Paris, propel the plot through the force and weakness of their characters.
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Most recent customer reviews
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 April 19 2007 by Donald Mitchell
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 April 19 2007 by Donald Mitchell
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 April 19 2007 by Donald Mitchell
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 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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