Leonid McGill

Created by Walter Mosley

LEONID McGILL may just be the Job of detective fiction.

Walter Mosley’s contemporary African-American private eye and family man (with three grown — and at times troublesome — children), partial to Lucky Strikes and beer, is trying to make a go of it on the decidedly mean and frequently bewildering streets of Manhattan.

Defiantly old school, the troubled ex-boxer and former fixer (his speciality was framing people for crimes they didn’t commit) first appeared in the 2005 short story “Karma” and his first novel-length outing, The Long Fall, finally saw daylight in 2009. Since then he’s appeared in several novels, and each adventure seems to just pile on the complications (personal, professional, social, domestic — you name it, he’s got ’em) for one of the most trouble-plagued eyes in the shamus game.

But don’t expect some Father Knows Best schtick wrapped in P.I. clothing — Leonid’s family is perpetually on the brink of falling apart, he and his troubled wife seems to be at odds most of the time, and the activist father–who abandoned him as a child to go join the “revolution”– has moved in. And the kids? Let’s just say it’s complicated.

But if you’re looking for a dark, brooding, and quietly disturbing wallow in guilt, fear, lust, loneliness, and middle-aged angst miles away from the typical kiss kiss bang bang of the genre, this may be the series you’re looking for. Call it noir for grown-ups, if you must, but it’s one of the most unsettling yet cathartic reads I’ve come across in a while.

He joins the ranks of Mosley’s other acclaimed series characters, such as Easy Rawlins, Socrates Fortlow and the tag-team of Paris Minton and Fearless Jones.

Walter Mosley is one of the most versatile and admired crime writers in America today. A New York Times-bestselling author, his work has been translated into more than twenty-one languages, and he’s won numerous awatrds in the mystery field, as well as the O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.


  • “Karma” (2005, Dangerous Women)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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