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Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel
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Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  793 ratings  ·  128 reviews
This bold new novel from Walter Mosley startles in both its rawness and its honest portrayal of a man on a quest for sexual redemption in midlife. When Cordell Carmel catches his longtime girlfriend with another man, the act that he witnesses seems to dissolve all the boundaries he knows. In that instant, the calm existence of this middle-aged New York City man becomes som...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 26th 2007 by Bloomsbury USA (first published December 26th 2006)
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Lisabet Sarai
[This review was originally published at Erotica Revealed -]

Walter Mosley is well known as a writer of crime and mystery novels. Needless to say, his first foray into the genre of sex writing has occasioned a flurry of sceptical and childishly embarrassed media commentary. I first became aware of KILLING JOHNNY FRY when someone on the Erotica Readers and Writers Association Writers forum ( posted the URL of Jennifer Reese's scathing review from En...more
I would put 2 1/2 stars if I could.

Funny story behind this book. I read it a few years ago. I had not read a book in quite awhile and a co-worker of mine was constantly going to library reading book after book. I told her one day while she was there to pick me up something good to read. I figured if anyone knew about good books, it would be her.
Well, after I started the book and asked her what she was thinking picking out this book for me she confessed that she just grabbed any old book off the...more
The esteemed crime novelist Walter Mosely tries his hand at porn...and it's pretty cool! His main character is a bit more tortured than many of Henry Miller's notable swashbucklers--but hey, the context and times are way different...

I actually appreciated greatly his *brief* meditations on race, neurosis, power, abuse, sex, and inter-racial/intra-racial sexual dynamics, being a man of color myself. Of course, one has to wade through the veritable oceans of BDSM and rough anal sex to get to those...more
Richard Vialet
3.5 stars
I've mentioned before that Walter Mosley is probably one of the most versatile authors and consistently puts out solid work in different genres. At the point when this book was released, Mosley was mostly known for his great crime writing and was carving out a cult niche with his thoughtful sci-fi novels. With this book, he did what many would never expect and delved into erotic fiction.

Mild-mannered New York City translator Cordell Carmel is living a good life with his long-term girlfr...more
Jan 31, 2008 Charlie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature readers
At last an intelligent writer has integrated sexual fantasies and experiences explicitly into his epiphany of a man whose life is impacted when he walks in on his girlfriend having wild sex with a friend of his. Oh yes, it is definitely pornography but nothing like you have ever read before even if some of you nostalgically remember smudged pages we snuck around high school classes of Lady Chatterly's Lover or Peyton Place. The protagonist enters the underground sexual playgrounds of New York Ci...more
Yay, literary porn! Or is it pornographic literature? Whatever the term, this is a book about a man going through a mid-life crisis and finding his way through kinda out-there sex. It's about a guy, Cordell, 45, who's your average guy working his cushy day-job. He's had a stable girlfriend for 8 years. Everything's pretty peachy until he accidentally discovers she's cheating on him. That throws him into finding himself by banging a bunch of people.

Mosley takes the same approach here as he does i...more
Greg Heath
The prolific Walter Mosley, author of the wildly popular Easy Rawlins series, returns to his crime noir roots in spectacular fashion with his latest novel, “Killing Johnny Fry,” published Dec. 2007, Bloomsbury USA. Mosley dubs this work a “sexistential novel,” and that it certainly is. Though deeply erotic and graphically disturbing in its frank depictions of sex and hedonistic delight, there is a profundity in the harrowing journey of self-discovery and redemption undertaken. Through the grit a...more
WTF? Someone recommended this book during an Sunday afternoon tea because they weren't quite sure what to think about it and wanted someone to read it so as to get their opinion. First, I can definitely see why this person did not know what to think of this book. I certainly don't even know where to begin. I had no idea what I was getting into and this type of genre isn't what I'd ever chose to read. Don't get me wrong I love a good mystery as much as anyone else but this was porn disguised as a...more
Combine Henry Miller with Camus and Sartre and you have Walter Mosley's sexistentialist novel Killing Johnny Fry.

When Cordell Carmel discovers his longtime lover Joelle is having an affair with a casual acquaintance Johnny Fry, Cordell descends into a long day's journey into night. Cordell immediately quits his job and proceeds to have affairs with multiple women and plots Fry's murder.

Cordell's psyche is sent deeper into an existential abyss through his obsession with a high-end porn movie, the...more
Jason Kurtz
I guess I find it interesting that when a romance novel discusses a woman's sexual awakening or re-awakening it is almost an accepted trope, yet when a male author writes about a male character going through some of the same issues, it is is considered pornographic. Mosley's novel is explicit, yet I didn't feel that it was excessive, considering the title, and focus of the story. I can point out some sections of John Updike's work that are just as explicit.

Possibly Mosley's only error, is that h...more
I wanted to like this book. It's Walter Mosley, right?


One hundred pages or so into this I gave up reading this book. Sure, it has a LOT of sex in it (it does call itself a 'sexistential' novel, after all) but this book was going nowhere for me. Even after the bit I did read, I am still unsure of what exactly the point of it was. To explore unconventional sex lives? To question some dude's lonely existence? Obviously I missed something, or maybe I'm far too impatient to figure it out rig...more
Reema Brown
Loved this book. I picked it up for $5.00 off a clearance box in barnes and noble simply for the cover. This was my introduction to Mosely and I've been a fan ever since.

KJF reads much like his private eye noir novels giving you that gritty, dark, whiskey on the breath, suspenseful, I need a shower kind of feeling. Extremely pornographic but so cleverly written with a very smart plot. No dumbed down language or boring run of the mill sexual fantasies. Not at all for the average housewife looking...more
Brett Newmyer
This book started off great. I was totally hooked, but then the story just started getting too sexual. I should have expected as much from a Sexistential Novel- but he kept surprising women, and seducing them, and he always ate out their butts.
Maybe I missed the symbology of all the butts he was eating out, but I got sick of it. I probably would have given 2 stars, but I'm a sucker for a good ending, and it did indeed have that.
This book was chuck full of kinky sex though it brushed along some of the same paths as BDSM it missed, IMO, the entire basis of it.

I love Walter Mosley and his work. I think of all the books I've read that he's written I only disliked one. I enjoyed this book.

It's just that I felt it had the whole, "wow, look what fun this thing that is new to me, could be, flavor" to it laced with, "it must be fueled by rage and childhood abuse."

IMO that isn't the dynamic behind BDSM and misses the whole funda...more
This book was AMAZING. To me it was better then all of Zane's books put together. The book offers great sex scenes but it also challenges the mind mentally. The author does a great job keeping the reader guessing. Nothing is predictable and this book. It is truly my favorite! :-)
Alex Sarll
After a chance discovery, a regular guy finds himself startled by his own transformation into a monster of boundless depravity. Found it rather difficult to empathise with the 'regular guy' and 'startled' aspects.

(This is the second time - the other being Howard Jacobson's Act of Love - that I've investigated the work of a well-regarded and prolific author, only to find myself with a novel that seems to bear little connection to the rest of their work, instead being a working-out of some of the...more
This book was very intense. I felt sorry for Cordell but he seemed to really learn a lot from his situation. Very explicit and definitely caught me off guard.
Was this a midlife crisis book? Not just for Cordell, but for Moseley?
best book other than Ghetto Heaven I've read
Mike Smith
The subtitle of this explicit and graphic novel is very accurate. Improbably-named narrator Cordell Carmel, known as "L" to his friends and associates, begins to question everything in his ordinary life after walking in on his girlfriend having rough sex with mutual acquaintance Johnny Fry (they don't see him). Cordell becomes overwhelmed with disgust, rage, and lust. He begins to see the world in a new light... his job, his relationships, and his attitudes. He also begins to try some of the sex...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris Horn
Cordell inadvertently walks in on his long-time lover having very rough sex in her Central Park West apartment. Instead of confronting them, he watches for a few minutes, leaves, then begins plotting to kill his rival. While doing so, he abruptly quits his job, starts a new a career (sort of) and takes several new lovers, and has rough sex with all of them.

This book reminds me of the scene in Dashiell Hammett's "The Maltese Faclon," where Sam Spade tells a story about a man who was narrowly miss...more
As one who counts himself a fan of Walter Mosley's intelligent handling of all manner of relationships, social, racial, generational, etc., the unabashed sexuality of this one caught me a little by surprise. At times it felt a little like Mosley was just exercising a literary muscle that he doesn't get to use in the other works very often. But most of the time, his gift for drawing you into someone else's situation made you feel as tormented/questioning/liberated as his Cordell Carmel.
Told al...more
Joaquin Garza
La primera y única vez que he leído pornografía. Porque ésta no es tanto una novela erótica como pornografía hecha y derecha: parece que todos y cada uno de los métodos y técnicas, y todas y cada una de las modas y perversiones sexuales (tipo 'El jardín de las delicias') se halla descrita en esta novela.

El señor Mosley, un veterano del hard-boiled detective que no tengo el gusto de conocer por otras novelas, desarrolló esta historia acerca de un hombre que, viendo que su novia le pone el cuerno,...more
Stacia Boatwright
This book is a little racy, so beware. There's a lot of sexual darkness which was often uncomfortable to read, but I was determined to finish to book since a book club I'm new to is reading it (I want to make a good impression). I was used to Mr. Mosely's Easy Rawlins series, and this is quite different. In that vein, it was interesting to see something different from him. However, once you start the book, I believe you will want to see how the story unfolds, and the ending is a surprise.
Well. This one came as a complete surprise. I got it last October, put it in a box in storage, and just found it and read it last week. Rescued from the 'Bargain' table at some bookstore and scooped it up (disgusted with the high prices for 'New' Mosley books I'd not read at this mid-sized retailer.) These bargain tables can often hold hidden gems, and while certainly NOT what I was accustomed to story-wise from this author, having read only about half of his Easy Rawlins books, I found it very...more
Cordell Carmel walks in on his girlfriend having sex with a white guy. Then Cordell goes on a sex-rampage through the city of New York. Shockingly, every woman he meets, from the receptionist to the single mother on the subway, cannot wait to sleep with him. "What is it?" you ask. "Is he charming?" Not really. He's a 45-year-old man who has just quit his job as a translator of technical manuals. He's got an arsenal of platitudes that work on these women. "Who are these women?" you ask. Now that'...more
alexis fitz
Disturbingly Intriguing

There are quite a few typos in this book. Overall,this is a good read. A page turner that's disturbing yet intriguing. Whoa. Wow. There's nothing wrong with a little eroticism. I was satisfied with the ending, although I found myself wishing he'd handled the the incident with his gf differently.
This is pure erotica. Let's just address the elephant in the room before I begin this because it's really all the story is about. I am a fan of erotic literature but the dark scenes all made me cringe and want to flip through them. Half of the time, it was as if passionate sex just took a wrong turn and went left. That affected the whole book because I often found myself wondering who Cordell was having sex with and why. Cordell and his thought process is a confusing mess throughout the story an...more
Although this is not one of Walter Mosley's best, it is a must read. It looks at how a man's world is torn apart when he finds himself at the wrong place at the wrong time and - he learns the life he thought he had been controling, is not what he thought it was at all. As he goes on his downward spiral he seems to be right below the surface of the water, but can't quite get his head above it for almost begin to feel sorry for him.
With it's raunchy sex scenes (and beleive me they get...more
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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 numero...more
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Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins #1) The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey Black Betty (Easy Rawlins #4) Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins #9)

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