Review: Known to Evil

Known to Evil
Known to Evil by Walter Mosley

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not one of Mosley’s best novels. He’s always a wordsmith, but here he seems to be struggling for effect, pushing for a voice in which he’s not particularly comfortable. The action never really gets off the ground, as Mosley spends too much time trying to give his narrator, Leonid McGill, a unique voice, but it simply comes across as awkward: early on, McGill tells us how preoccupied he is with other peoples’ heights, but it wavers in and out of the novel as if Mosley himself can’t remember to stick to it, and adds nothing to any aspect of the plot. Characters are a mess of affectations and simply-revealed motives, like a pastiche of the genre without anything to say about it. Ultimately, the whole thing comes across as a novel of randomly assorted character traits, without a solid enough spine to give it weight. Even bad Mosley makes for reasonable reading, but this is worlds away from the heights of ‘The Man in My Basement’.

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