Diane's Reviews > When the Thrill Is Gone

When the Thrill Is Gone by Walter Mosley
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's review
Sep 09, 2011

really liked it
Read in September, 2011

I first encountered Walter Mosley when I read the Easy Rawlins series. I got into those books, so I looked forward to the new series featuring Leonid McGill, a PI in modern-day New York. While the McGill books are fun in their own way, the atmosphere of the McGill series pales in comparison to that of the Rawlins series. Even so, McGill is a worthy successor to Rawlins. The son of a confirmed communist who was raised hearing Marxist ideology, he is savvy enough to know that ideology isn't going to take him far in New York City. Yet, he also understands the truth of that ideology for a black man avoiding trouble in a white culture that sees only the color of his skin and misses his intellect.

When the Thrill Is Gone takes McGill into the highest reaches of the wealthy of New York society, both literally and figurately, and sends him a chase around the country as he tries to solve the mystery of the missing wife, the dead sister, and the problems of his own children. While crime solving carries the plot of the story along, what gives the book its heart is Leonid's relationships and the history he has with people he encounters along the way. In fact, even at the times when the plot goes off the track, the characters and their exchanges keep the book alive.

It lends depth to a character to have him involved with a family, especially if that family is somewhat troubled. Mosley uses that device to good effect in the Easy Rawlins series and does so in the McGill novels. In some ways Leonid McGill's family relationships are just as compelling as the crime story.

I enjoyed When the Thrill Is Gone, and I'll probably read more of Mosley's McGill books. It's not the greatest book I've read in a long time, but it definitely wasn't a waste of my time.
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