REVIEW OF EVERY MAN A KING BY WALTER MOSELY
Every Man A King is the second book featuring Joe KIng Oliver. The former cop, imprisoned for a crime he was framed by fellow colleagues for, works his mean streets with a different attitude and approach than other Mosley PIs, Easy Rawling and Leonid McGill. Here, Oliver gets two cases that deal with family as well as the insanity of our country.
Roger Ferris, the white billionaire dating King's grandmother, asks him to look into the case of of an unlikable defendant. Alfred Xavier Quiller, a brilliant inventor and notorious white supremacist sits in a secret cell in Rikers Island, charged with murder and selling information to the Russians. Even though he says he hates Quiller's politics, Ferris feels his civil rights are being abused and he may be set up. He asks Oliver to look into it. With Ferris' pull he visits Quiller in his cell, discovering a man whose brilliant but narrow intellect has led him down a disturbing path. It's hard not to think of Steve Bannon any time he pops up. When King meets his wife, it gets even more complex.
King's ex also asks him for help. Her new husband has been arrested for business fraud in the oil game. The husband claims he was coerced by his Russian partners. King discovers ties to mobsters and oligarchs as well as to his case with Quiller. Then his investigation goes beyond criminals with shady businessman and even shadier government operatives.. The closer he reaches the truth, the more he jeopardizes.himself and his family.
Every Man A King shows how Mosely uses plotting as a major element for his art, supporting the themes he reachers for.. Few authors are able to to merge emotion, social commentary, and his story's reveals as seamlessly as he does for maximum effect, delivering, entertainment, feeling, and thought simultaneously. The clearer the whoddunit elements become, the murkier the moral territory King finds himself in.
Joe proves the perfect PI for these situations. With experience as both cop and convict, he can dissect a situation with a certain amount of precise detachment, then engage with a direct exact strategy. He lives his life with a cynicism, but holds an understanding of human foibles that make him far from emotionless. If he believes in anything to be true, it's love, whether a the fleeting kind with a sexy fling or the enduring kind he has with his grandmother and daughter, Aja,
I hope Walter Mosely gives Joe King Oliver more cases. He provides a great viewpoint to his world which in its complexity, conflict, and craziness is simply a genre form of ours. He delivers gems of understanding, knowing answers are too few and far between.