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Walkin' the Dog

(Socrates Fortlow #2)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  1,415 ratings  ·  88 reviews
Once he had dreamed up the Easy Rawlins series, with its colored-coded titles and suave protagonist, Walter Mosley could have coasted for the rest of his life. Instead he delved into impressionistic fiction (RL's Dream) and sci-fi (Blue Light)--and came up with his own variant on Ellison's invisible man, a forbidding ex-con named Socrates Fortlow. The author first ...more
Hardcover, Large Print, 370 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by Thorndike Press (first published March 1st 1999)
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  1,415 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another fantastic collection of Socrates Fortlow stories, with not a single dud in the bunch. Mosley also goes a bit darker in this volume (if that's even possible). Where the first volume felt like stories of hard redemption, this volume was full of stories of Socrates just getting the literal and metaphorical crap kicked out of him.

It's also interesting (and troubling) that this volume was written around the turn of the century, takes place in the mid-90s, and yet is more relevant than ever
Marcus Lyons
Jan 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Another brilliant offering by Mosley. Calling him a jazz musician is wonderfully correct, and his talent as a riff master is on full display in 'Walkin' the Dog,' his second offering to feature angry and wise Socrates Fortlow. Mosley is adept at getting the scenes set and just enough information across to the reader to allow them to be pulled along, invested in each charaters' life. Would give this more than 5 stars if possible. Each new book I get to read leaves me breathless but thinking for ...more
June Ahern
May 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
A rich story in every sense of the word. This is my first read by author Walter Mosley but will not be my last. The challenges, pain and social sigma of a man who has been in prison for many years and how he must learn to function within the free world again. The man is a most magnificent character named Socrates Fortlow. He is pained, isolated and defensive. His dog is also an injured being with two front legs only. I found myself rallying for Socrates hoping he would find some relief and ...more
Aug 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Lainie by: NPR Books
This is Walter Mosely's second of three novels about Socrates Fortlow, an African-American ex-con killer infected with rage (and probably bipolar disorder). He faces the world with his fists up, but as we watch, he gets under our skin. Mosely gives him dimension and lets us meet his friends and enemies, and the boy he looks after. Socrates struggles with his reactionary nature: he doesn't think his life can ever be smooth, but he asks himself Big Questions and he dreams. We see his intelligence ...more
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-book
In book 2 of the Socrates Fortlow series, about an ex-con of the same name he adopts a stray dog. The new owner creates a place for the pet to run in a DIY harness for this kind of handicapped animal. Killer is left at home while the former prisoner commits murders in the course of a normal day. Walkin’ the Dog, by Walter Mosley is exciting because it chronicles the black lives in Watts, a violence ridden neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love the writing of Walter Mosley. I was in a state of apprehension throughout this entire book. I worried so much about something bad happening to Socrates that it was always a relief to get through a chapter where it didn't happen. I was grateful that many times after Socrates found himself in some legal or other trouble that Mr. Mosley inserted something like "as Socrates told Darryl two days later" to foreshadow the outcome. I could breathe again once I had read that. I sometimes wonder ...more
Daniel Polansky
More episodes in the life of Mosley’s ex-con/philosopher, struggling to adjust his savage temper and bitter moral sense to a corrupt America. There are a couple of clunkers, but basically this is some really weird, well-written, insightful noir.
Sep 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: from-liberry
Pretty spectacular. Mosley's writing style sometimes seems like he's talking to fifth-graders. He repeats things that seem like they could be inferred. He has the characters monologue in ways that seem like they should be irritating. And he's always just a step away from hard-boiled cliche. But it's a really really really big step. And he does some subtle things with the insides of men's minds-- specifically black men's, and in this book, the mind of a brilliant but tormented ex-con who's filled ...more
Feb 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, situational
I just picked this book up at random, liked the title and the synopsis sounded interesting. I was pleasantly surprised by it. I think Walter Mosley has found himself a new fan. I will definitely be reading another of his books to see if I feel the same way but this one was well worth it. The characters are very real and so easy to visualize. I think Mosley knows a thing or two about the people he writes about.

I'd recommend this book to anyone that is looking for something fresh and real.
James Murtha
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This sequel to “Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned,” follows ex-con, Socrates Fortlow, through a series of challenges during the riots in the Watts area of Los Angeles in the 1990s. Key characters from the first book – the teen Darryl, the sometimes girlfriend Iula, Marty Gonzalez, the boss and friend at Bounty Market, crippled war veteran, Right Burke, and the black dog without hind legs, Bruno – renamed here Killer – all share the adventures. New characters emerge. A cologne-wearing radical ...more
Dick Gullickson
Jan 16, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked “Walking the Dog” better than Janie, which we listened to as an audiobook. As I listened I remembered that my friend and college prof Owen Brady, sadly deceased at a young age, spent much of his life studying and interpreting the works of Walter Mosley, captured in his book “Finding a Way Home, A Critical Assessment of Walter Mosley’s Fiction” (with a chapter devoted to Socrates). WTD tells the story of excon Socrates Fortlow who must deal with a life long struggle to control his anger, ...more
Edward Ngugi
Oct 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was given walkin’ the dog book by a friend of mine who knows how much I love Walter Mosley. I did not know that it was part of a series (then) so, I dug in my heels and rushed off to meet Socrates Fortlow.

His unnerving stare slowed down my mad rush and slowly as I turned the pages I got to meet this angry giant with a heart of gold.

Socrates Fortlow is nearing 60, a killer with death in his stare and anger boiling much in his blood. As Walter Mosley narrates in walkin’ the dog, he has paid for
Aug 26, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walter Mosely's writing captures the voices and behaviors of his characters with perfection. Here a dangerous ex con structures a life with integrity, leaving his rage behind to engage with and accept his world, on the road to finding some kind of peace and happiness. The audio version brings out the real flavor of Watts and the community.
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bless, bless, bless Walter Mosley. Humanity resides in every letter, word, punctuation, dialogue. Such sensitivity, insight, and love. The treasures of this book will stay with me for some time. Thus far, it's my favorite Mosley book, on par with James Baldwin.
Jackie Lamas
A compelling story about the life of an ex-con and his thought process on life after prison. Loved how Mosley brought me into his world, mind, and life through the main character's eyes and kept me turning page after page. Would love to read the book previous this one in the series.
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A complicated book and main character, but a good read. Right and wrong is not always black and white, and Walter Mosley digs deep into the gray area.
S F Thornton
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another classic Mosley tale of redemption.
Shiela Rozich
Mar 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We can all learn from the wisdom of Socrates Fortlow.
Bobby  Title
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it
Only wish I'd read the first Socrates book first. It might have changed my thinking about this book.
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novels
Socrates Fortlow is a man full of rage and fear and wisdom. He operates on instinct and feeling but he thinks about stuff, too. He can't always articulate what he's feeling, even to himself, but he keeps working at it. He's a murderer, an ex-con, and now at 60 he's a man who wants to do right in the tough LA neighborhoods where the cops are always looking for a black guy like him whenever a crime goes down. The odds are against him, hell, the odds are against everybody who lives where he lives, ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the second in Mosley's Socrates Fortlow series. I should have read the first one first, but never mind. Through Socrates Fortlow Mosley writes about deep sh*t. Reading Mosley is like meditation; time is lost in the moment.
Sep 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Walter Mosely is a contemporary Richard Wright who writes about life among the African-American urban underclass. I have read several of his books: Little Yellow Dog, Devil in the Blue Dress and others in the Easy Rawlins series. This book features Socrates Fortlow, a 60 year old ex-con who is trying to make a new start. As his name suggests, Socrates is man full of wisdom that comes from his old aunt (wose stories keep coming back to him), 16 years in prison, and life on the streets. He is what ...more
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The sequel to Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, this collection of original stories follows Socrates as he moves up in his career, gets a real house, finds companionship with Iula, continues to mentor Darryl, and is hassled by the police after a murder in his neighborhood. Just when it seems Socrates will finally find happiness, a new injustice causes him to take a stand that jeopardizes everything.

It’s another incredible book, written with an obvious anger at the pressures and trials that
Jul 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
I used to see Walter Mosley's books cross the my circulation desk all the time in Fayetteville, NC. The librarian said he wrote about urban characters in tough situations. That didn't strike a chord with me back then, so I dismissed his writing. A few weeks ago, a different library I go to as a customer had Walkin' the Dog on a display. Tough urban folks sounded like a needed departure from my everyday experience. It was hard to read, because Socrates is angry, and with good reason. There is ...more
Jun 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: no-longer-own
While I don't think Walkin' the Dog tops the first Socrates Fortlow short story collection, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, it comes damned close. Socrates has progressed a bit beyond just trying to survive as an ex-con living in post-Rodney King-riot Watts and now finds himself interacting with a growing contingent of friends, co-workers, and, occasionally, lovers who draw him outside of his prison-generated isolation.

As his world expands, he finds himself on the receiving end of the LAPD
Aug 04, 2007 rated it really liked it
This was almost as good as Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, which is the only other Mosley book I've read (thanks Steve!). I read the first book right after plowing through all the The Wire, and I think I fell in love instantly with Soctrates' character as he reminded me so much of Dennis or "Cutty" the ex-con turned youth boxing gym manager...

This book has everything that the first one had. At times I guess the politics of it are a little overt, but that's really only a minor quibble. I'm
Harold Crenetz
Jul 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I love Walter Mosley. To learn about the Black experience is to learn about our own experience. Socrates is a little bit different character although the thread of selfdiscovery that runs through his characters is the same. Socrates is a 60 year old powerfully built black excon in Watts. He has killed and he knows he could kill again.
He has carved out a life for himself and he has a job and a selfadopted son. There is such a human strength to this man and his self questioning and his
Jul 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book because of the alternative perspective. The narrator's voice was a highlight. The situations and simplicity of action in the novel made it enjoyable. Very good. It made me think about those unsung heros, or everyday young men who are really trying to make something of themselves out of our wacked system in the US. Coming out of a violent environment with failure, poverty, survival instincts turned on high- it isn't easy to rise above it all. Mosley conveys this struggle ...more
Maria McGrath
Jul 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I read this book about ten years ago, and I think of it at least once a month. There is a real richness in the character painted, but what springs to mind most often is his lack of stuff. One folding chair, one of a few other things, and that's it. Sometimes I look at my cluttered life and envy that aspect of his fresh start, though not the others. Nevertheless, I wonder if having all his possessions and his whole life torn away from him gives him part of his strength--he is a man with nothing ...more
Mar 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Mosley got angry and dark in this novel. I was almost to the point of not finishing this book. Walter Mosley has a talent that you don't find often. Building characters that stick in your brain for long lengths of time. This read was good but I hope the next one of his that I pick up, has a little more flow and ease to it. It does not deter me to stop reading his books. He inspires me to read them all!!
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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

Other books in the series

Socrates Fortlow (3 books)
  • Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned
  • The Right Mistake