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3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  709 Ratings  ·  122 Reviews
An icy noir from a master of American fiction that proves the darkest secrets are the ones we hide from ourselves.

Ben Dibbuk is an affable guy with a steady job. He has been married to a beautiful woman for twenty years and has a lovely young daughter in college. His life is routine and uneventful, and he likes it that way. When a woman he doesn't recognize approaches him
Hardcover, 180 pages
Published December 26th 2008 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2006)
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Tie The Easy Rawlins series was Mosely's best work in my humble opinion. I suggest reading them in order starting with Devil in a Blue Dress.
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Jun 24, 2013 Rose rated it liked it
Ok now. I think Walter Mosley is a great writer. There's just something really fantastic about how he tells his stories. I like how even if the stories feature main characters who are black, they're not stories about black people, race isn't an issue, the characters are who they are, not their race. This story I cannot give more stars to simply because I can't say I loved it, but that's not to say it wasn't told or written well because it was. It also happened to be disturbing, it had a lot of ...more
Feb 16, 2009 Mike rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I may not qualify in some folk's minds as qualified to write a review for this book on two points...

1) I didn't finish the book. Not even close.
2) This is the first Mosley book I've picked up.

Now, with that in mind. This book was entirely misleading. The jacket makes it sound as if it's going to be a nice little mystery story regarding this great husband/father/employee who suddenly finds himself caught up in stalker allegations as well as an investigation by his wife. I thought, "well, sounds g
Zen Cho
Found this a quick and enjoyable read, though I wonder whether I give Mosley the benefit of the doubt on gender issues because people like him whom I trust .... Anyway, the main thing that struck me about this book was that there was a lot of a certain kind of sex which I think of as book sex. Though it doesn't only happen in books -- it'd happen in movies as well, I guess, but the movies I watch aren't usually as explicit as the books I read sometimes get. What I'm not sure about is whether ...more
Derek Davis
Aug 01, 2012 Derek Davis rated it it was amazing
Mosley is best known for his action/mystery novels, especially those featuring Easy Rawlins. Though a success through the years, he's been somewhat saddled by the fact that none of the followups in that series matched his first, Devil in a Blue Dress. But in between the more formulaic pieces he's gone in different other directions with varies success.

"Diablerie," to my mind, is the best he's done in years – a short, intense novel driven entirely by character and relationships. The narrator, Ben
Marissa Morrison
Feb 15, 2012 Marissa Morrison rated it did not like it
While I waited for Mosley's third book in the Leonid McGill series to arrive at my library branch, I picked up this other novel by Mosley. It's hard to imagine that such a great writer wrote this awful book. The plot is slow (lots of waiting for the protagonist to regain his memory--it finally happens three pages from the end), the characters are fuzzy, and the sex scenes are too numerous and too crude. Yuck.
Jul 23, 2008 Jess rated it liked it
I'd give it 3.5 stars. Premise: a sober, ho-hum guy may or may not have been a murderer in his past life as a violent drunk. There's a lot of ugly, honest humanity here, and Mosley is a champ at pulling that off without being a total sap. Still, the ending was a little too neatly tied off for my taste.
Sep 22, 2015 Julie rated it really liked it
Although I didn't like his most famous book, Devil in a Blue Dress, I found this quite good. It's a psychological thriller of sorts. A little sexually graphic though so if that offends, stay away.
M Griffin
Sep 08, 2016 M Griffin rated it it was ok
I think I made a mistake. I wanted to check out something by Walter Mosley, so without doing much research, I selected the first of his audiobooks that was available to borrow from my library without a wait. Mosley's reputation is high enough that I have to guess that one of his other, better-known books, like Devil in a Blue Dress, would have been a much better choice.

The problem with telling a story from the point of view of Ben Dibbuk, a robotic, emotionless character is that his "who cares?
Sep 12, 2016 Jen rated it liked it
I saw the author interviewed by Tavis Smiley and realized I never had read anything by him, then came across this in the library. I like it. At first I wasn't sure, seemed contrived and disconnected, but half way through I realized the pages were turning, it was exciting and I was engaged with the characters. I'm not sure I would read another one, but I did like this.
May 22, 2015 Stewart rated it really liked it
Shelves: no-longer-own
I wasn't sure what to expect going into this novel. I'm a huge fan of Mosley's crime fiction, and have given mixed reviews to his few forays into SciFi, but this appeared, at first, to be something akin to a psychological thriller.

It wasn't really. At its heart, it's the story of a psychological awakening, or, to continue the analogy that gave its protagonist, Ben Dibbuk, his last name (obviously inspired by the Yiddish dybbuk): a psychological exorcism.

Ben is walking dead. He's practically an a
Oct 24, 2013 Steve rated it it was ok
I have read many of Mosley's Easy Rawlins' books and really enjoyed them, but I can't say the same for this book. Ben Dibbuk is not a protagonist with whom I can identify - I don't even like him. He is a middle-aged man who has been unable to get past growing up with a physically strict father or forgiving his mother who turned a blind eye to the disciplinary beatings, has not kept in touch with his parents or brother for years, cannot seem to express any sensitivity to his wife and daughter, ...more
Dec 08, 2014 Joe rated it it was ok
Ben Dibbuk is a broken man, he doesn't realize just how damaged he really is. To shield himself from the world, he has created a completely apathetic life where the world, including those in his family, mean almost nothing to him. Given that, can the reader be expected to care that much either?

Walter Mosley is known for creating flawed characters who sometimes rise up to be a hero - Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones come to mind. Perhaps it is the short nature of this book (180 pages) that never r
Feb 14, 2014 Jay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Mosley's writing is just fine here in this short book about a man who is accused of committing murder in the distant past when he had alcoholic blackouts. I enjoyed his descriptions in the story. You did get feelings of confusion and the heavy, stressful atmosphere that the main character was living through. But the confusion is caused in part by the choppiness of the scenes and the brevity of the book. This is one I think that would be better if it were longer. In a longer book you might figure ...more
Mar 25, 2008 Nick rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mosley fans, noir fiction fans
A page-turner, with brilliant bits and disappointing bits. The resolution, in which he MIGHT have remembered what happened, is in itself no resolution at all. Everything in that version could also be a false memory, based on what he was told.
Also, the name of the character, Ben Dibbuk, was a bit cutesy for my taste [change a letter and it's "Ben Dybbuk", i.e. "son of the evil possessing spirit"...get it, nudge nudge?] for a man whose violent nature had been so defined by his father.
Because Ben i
May 29, 2008 Michael rated it liked it
I find Walter Mosley fascinating. Known mostly for his Easy Rawlins mystery series, he's really one of the most diverse writers working today. Straight drama like in the Socrates Fortlow books (of which I'm anxiously waiting a new installment), sci-fi, young adult historical sci-fi, non-fiction. It's interesting to see an author take himself in so many different directions in this era of pigeonholed writers. Diablerie, for example, would most likely fall into a category like erotic thriller. I ...more
May 23, 2015 Msmyrafaye rated it did not like it
I picked this book up from the library. It sounded interesting. I was disappointed. If it hadn't have been a short read, I certainly would not have finished it. The book was just plain weird. The characters weirder. Didn't care for Ben, his wife, his daughter, his get the point. Speaking of points, some of the characters seem to go off on tangents. Their actions were, in most respects, implausible. The ending was a big letdown. I was waiting for a big revelation, for fire works and ...more
Mar 15, 2015 Inda rated it liked it
Walter Mosley was one of my favorite writers in high school and college. While he remains a compelling writer, I just did not feel the same way I did about this one the way I have about his works in the past. Admittedly it has been years since I read his work, but with Diablerie, I found myself not as invested in the characters as I had with others in the past. I kept reading until the end because I did want to find out how the situation would end, but overall I had no feelings toward the ...more
Jan 09, 2016 Joan rated it really liked it
Very dark story about Ben Dibbuk who is a very unhappy man. As a child he was beaten by his father because his father loved him. His mother says his father loved him so much he had to beat him. Ben is closed off emotionally from everyone. Ben has a daughter in college and a wife who doesn't care about him. He has a Russian mistress who seems to love him. When Ben goes with his wife to see a new author speak, the author says she knows him and knows what he did. She tells the police he killed a ...more
Oct 17, 2008 June rated it did not like it
I love Walter Mosley's books, but I didn't like this one at all. I listened to it on audiobook and the reading was awful. Sorry, guy, but that was bad. Bad. Bad acting, bad Russian accent (Svetlana, huh?), plain old bad. There was lots of sex, and I've gotta say that Mosley's male fantasy inspired scenarios were less than titillating for me. Blech, actually.

I couldn't really get past the stuff that I didn't like to be interested in the story line. The main character, Ben thinks that there may b
Jul 14, 2011 Heidi rated it liked it
This is really 2.5 stars. While I really like Mosley's writing, the graphic sex scenes were a bit much. They didn't really add anything to the plot with the exception of one scene in which Ben has a flash back of memory. I'll say maybe two scenes but (without adding spoilers) the other was completely unrealistic. The story itself was intriguing. Ben's inability to recall large portions of his life, his lack of a functioning emotional state created a very interesting character. I enjoyed seeing ...more
Mar 10, 2009 Ero rated it really liked it
Shelves: from-liberry
A beautifully written novel about love & guilt & redemption.

Marketed as an erotic novel, but not erotic at all (though there is a lot of sex involved). Other things this is not: it's not a whodunit; it's not a feel-good novel about family bonding; it's not a 'disturbed man gets therapy and overcomes his trauma' book; it's not for people who want to be satisfied with the ending tying up everyone's lives in some satisfying way.

What it is: a deep-noir meditation on what it means to be inno
Jun 23, 2008 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I really like Walter Mosley's books and was looking forward to this one, but sadly I must say that I was disappointed. First of all there was way too much sexual detail in the book. Sex in books is actually more interesting if a little is left to the reader's imagination, I think, plus the sex should have advanced the story line more considering how much time was given over to describing it. But mainly I was disappointed by the rather ordinary nature of the revelations about Ben's past. After ...more
Jennifer Bagazin
I'm not gonna euphemise this, but I thought this is book is really really crappy. (No wonder it was only sold for 10p. I dont even know why I bought this tbh). I dont think it was 'one of the best crime stories' that I've read, and I didn't agree/don't feel right about how the events turned out. Probably the only thing I liked about the book was that it was pretty deep. I mean the main character expresses really deep traumas and emotions, like his suppressed rage towards his own father. It ...more
Jan 08, 2016 Lydia rated it it was ok
I'm not sure I want to read another Mosley book. For a short book it took me a long time to complete, because it was so depressing. I have a rule; "if I begin a book I have to finish it"; this one has made me rethink that. A milktoast main character, who has way more sex than anyone this sad could have and he has no redeeming value whatsoever. Ben has a major problem that is resolved. However his dreams reveal more than his conscious thinking.

If anyone who reads this has a suggestion for a seco
Mr. Roboto
I listened to the audiobook. The narration was great except for Svetlana's character, whose Russian accent was noticeably funky/inconsistent. That hasn't been factored into my rating, though.

I was all set to give this book four stars until the ending truly disappointed me. It seemed a bit abrupt, underdeveloped, and unbelievable, as if Mr. Mosley had been pressured by the publisher to bring the book to a close ASAP. I still think he's a brilliant writer and won't hesitate to pick up his other wo
Apr 16, 2015 Summer rated it liked it
I was very interested in the main character, Ben. I first thought that he was a sociopath. It was fascinating to read the detached way he went through life, feeling nothing, doing hardly anything. A weirdly passionless existence. And then the mystery came up, and I was very curious as to what happened. The author didn't let the reader know what happened until the very very end, which kept me turning pages. Over all, it was a very realistic book, about the everyday violence and pain that one ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Tina rated it it was ok
Shelves: book-club, fiction, 2013
I think Mosley is a good writer, this is probably just not his best. It was a cold and harsh read. Not pleasant. I am sure that was intentional, but it was not for me. I guess it was a good look and how one person can go from abusive childhood to mundane existence to an even more uncertain future. Very bleak, but I guess it could ring true for some people. They are surviving, but not truly living.
May 31, 2008 Seth rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-fiction
Not very good. At least it wasn't long. Revolves around the ever-more-implausible trope of repressed memories. This syndrome--except in the rarest and most unusual cases--simply doesn't exist, at least as its proponents and publicists have described it. Evidently Mosley hasn't kept up. My expectations for bedtime crime and thriller fiction are, alas, low, and this one was another waste of time.
Dannuel Saùl Delizo
Nov 08, 2013 Dannuel Saùl Delizo rated it it was ok
Shelves: somberness
let's get straight to business, i didnt feel the thread. Ben Dibbuk was nothing but an apathetic and complacent cheating husband. A man who did not believe in love suddenly found his heart falling for his young Russian girlfriend. Also, he was somehow under PTSD. the disorder gave him lost memories of his drinking days in Colorado. the legal actions in the story were vair tres merde and a poo. tres amusant. i gave it two stars because I respect this one fine author, Mr. Mosley.
Sep 06, 2009 Janet rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I guess this is supposed to be a psychological thriller; I didn't really care for it. Mosley is obsessed with graphic sex, to the point where it doesn't add anything to the story. Here, Ben Dibbuk works like an automaton as a computer programmer, and admits to not loving his wife and daughter. When a woman from his long-ago past shows up and accuses him of something, he has to try to find out what, if anything, he did so long ago. Just not that interesting.
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Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of ...more
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