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Fear Itself: A Fearless Jones Novel Hardcover – Jul 2 2003

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company (July 2 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316591122
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316591126
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 24.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,622,876 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 19 2007
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.
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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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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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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Sept. 18 2003
Format: Hardcover
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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