Trouble Is What I Do (#6 Leonid McGill Series)
By Walter Mosley
I’m new to Walter Mosley’s mysteries. So, let me explain how this smooth, polished black man in a fedora caught my eye. If the gorgeous cover wasn’t enough, toss in an attention-grabbing title, you can only say INSTAGRAM MADE ME DO IT.
The latest installment is utterly absorbing. He’s a middle-aged ex-boxer and former career criminal. He is the kind of guy you must keep an eye out for. As describe by one of the many colorful characters:
“This man you’re walking up on is Leonid McGill. He’ll break half the bones in your body for business and the other half for fun.”
It’s very hard to review without quoting so much excellent dialogue. There are too many to highlight. The wisecracking banter is some of the best I have read.
“ Back then there was no such word as innocence in my lexicon. An innocent man or woman was simply the lucky one found not guilty, or better, never even charged.”
Leonid living in New York City is the perfect backdrop. The detailed streets of NYC are an excellent secondary character. Leonid moves from the Upper East Side, Financial District and Harlem as if he’s your personal tour guide. He’s also deals in favors with some of the most notorious gangsters. Therefore, if you want a job done you go to Leonid. He’s connected , feared and revered among the criminal underground.
“…maybe you’re not fully aware of my standing in our community. If I say I need to talk to somebody, then they need to talk to me.”
92-year-old Catfish Worry from Mississippi hired Leonid to deliver a letter to a billionaire heiress before she gets married to explain her family’s Black heritage roots. Racial identity played a significant character in Trouble Is What I Do. We see how the dangers and fears of passing as white create consequences for Charles and Justine Sternman.
The job is a piece of cake, right? Simply delivery a letter. There are, however, chaotic forces at play to prevent him from completing such an easy task. Along the way, her billionaire father is trying to kill him, his colleagues and Catfish, the client who hired him.
Now that I have found the joys of Leonid McGill, my mission is to tackle the previous books. Colorful characters. Outstanding dialogue. Page turning storytelling. Publishers list the book at 176 pages.
Mile High KINK Book Club highly recommends for your travel plans. Copy gifted via Netgalley for review purposes.
READ AN EXCERPT:
“Excuse me, miss,” I called to the waitress.
“Yeah?” She was entering her forties and lovely at that age. Brown hair dyed blond and eyes the color of blue steel. I believed that she was probably the kind of woman to stand by you when the chips were down.
Funny the things one pays attention to when death is hovering nearby.
“Can I get a cup of coffee?” I asked her.
“Oh. Sure. Milk and sugar?”
“Black,” I said, and she gave me a half smile that went deeper than a laugh.
“You better have some sugar,” a short thug remarked. He had skin the color of ivory from a fresh poacher’s kill and wore a square-cut blue shirt with lacquer-brown pants.
“Why’s that?” I asked, as close to ingenuous as I could manage.
The waitress had moved behind the counter to fill my order.
“Because you should have something sweet for your last meal,” the thug replied.
“I kill you first,” I stated.
He moved his shoulder in such a way that alarmed the tall, skinny guy enough that he put a hand on the short man’s shoulder.
The waitress walked up then with a big white mug filled with steaming black coffee.
“What’s your name?” I asked her.
Those blue eyes shone like headlights upon the perpetual darkness of her life.
“You don’t give a shit, do you, mister?”
“I tried to but nobody seems to want it.”
She laughed and said, “Sheila. Sheila Normandy.”
“Leonid McGill. I’m in the book.”
At that moment the fat man called True returned. Behind him, about ten feet away at the counter, stood Patrice.
“Who the fuck are you, brother?” True asked. He was standing over me.
“Have a seat,” I offered.
He gave me a hard stare but then relented. He took the chair that Patrice had abandoned. Putting both elbows on the table, True laced his fat fingers under tented thumbs.
“Okay,” he said. “Now what’s this shit about Ernie Eckles?”
“Somebody decided that your boy Patrice looked good for the theft of six tons of product from Underman. This somebody told Underman that Patrice was the mastermind. Underman told Eckles.”
True was not happy. His mouth twisted from a foul taste.
“When?” he asked.
“When did he tell Ernie? Monday afternoon, as close as I can figure.”
“He’ll be on him tonight.”
“What’s that got to do with you?” True asked.
“I’ve been retained by an anonymous client to protect Patrice if I can.”
“Paid by who?”
“I said retained, not paid. And anonymous means I don’t say.”
True would have liked to stomp me with the hardest shoes in his closet. He’d’ve been happy to see me in the ground. That’s the kind of response imminent death has on men who live by intimidation.
We studied each other’s eyes until the fat man accepted the fact that he was in over his depth.
“You know Eckles?”
“I know what they say he can do.”
“And you still took the job?”
“You should hear what they say about me.”
Blurb from Amazon
Morally ambiguous P.I. Leonid McGill is back — and investigating crimes against society’s most downtrodden — in this installment of the beloved detective series from an Edgar Award-winning and bestselling crime novelist.
Leonid McGill’s spent a lifetime building up his reputation in the New York investigative scene. His seemingly infallible instinct and inside knowledge of the crime world make him the ideal man to help when Phillip Worry comes knocking.
Phillip “Catfish” Worry is a 92-year-old Mississippi bluesman who needs Leonid’s help with a simple task: deliver a letter revealing the black lineage of a wealthy heiress and her corrupt father. Unsurprisingly, the opportunity to do a simple favor while shocking the prevailing elite is too much for Leonid to resist.
But when a famed and feared assassin puts a hit on Catfish, Leonid has no choice but to confront the ghost of his own felonious past. Working to protect his client and his own family, Leonid must reach the heiress on the eve of her wedding before her powerful father kills those who hold their family’s secret.
Joined by a team of young and tough aspiring investigators, Leonid must gain the trust of wary socialites, outsmart vengeful thugs, and, above all, serve the truth — no matter the cost.