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Down the River unto the Sea (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

Master mystery man Mosely has blessed us with a brand new character and series. Meet Joe King Oliver, a framed NYPD detective who now works with his teenage daughter as a private investigator. Fascinating to witness a master introduce a whole new series. Thrilling and smart.

— Andrew


Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD's finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island.

A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. Broken by the brutality he suffered and committed in equal measure while behind bars, his work and his daughter are the only light in his solitary life. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid to frame him those years ago, King realizes that he has no choice but to take his own case: figuring out who on the force wanted him disposed of -- and why.

Running in parallel with King's own quest for justice is the case of a Black radical journalist accused of killing two on-duty police officers who had been abusing their badges to traffic in drugs and women within the city's poorest neighborhoods.

Joined by Melquarth Frost, a brilliant sociopath, our hero must beat dirty cops and dirtier bankers, craven lawyers, and above all keep his daughter far from the underworld in which he works. All the while, two lives hang in the balance: King's client's, and King's own.

About the Author

Walter Mosleyis one of America's most celebrated and beloved writers. A Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America, he has won numerous awards, including the Anisfield-Wolf Award, a Grammy, a PEN USA's Lifetime Achievement Award, and several NAACP Image Awards. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. His short fiction has appeared in a wide array of publications, includingThe New Yorker, GQ, Esquire, Los Angeles Times Magazine, andPlayboy,and his nonfiction has been published inThe New York Times Book Review,The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, andThe Nation. He is the author of Down the River unto the Sea. He lives in New York City.

Praise For…

"Walter Mosley is back with a whole new character to love. . . . As gorgeous a novel as anything he's ever written. And with Joe King Oliver I'm betting, and hoping, he's given us a character we haven't see the last of."Richard Lipez, Washington Post

"Gritty . . . The plot soars . . . Few mystery writers can examine issues of race--how it divides and binds people--as clearly and unflinchingly as Walter Mosley."Oline Cogdill, Associated Press

"Great stuff . . . The vibrant characters and pulsating dialogue are primo Mosley."Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"A wild ride that delivers hard-boiled satisfaction while toying with our prejudices and preconceptions . . . The darker and uglier the story gets, the more Joe King Oliver comes alive. . . . The journey is fun and joyful. . . . A fitting work for a world riddled with dark contradiction."Steph Cha, Los Angeles Times

"Remarkable . . . Walter Mosley's latest novel [is] all the more relevant in Black Lives Matter era."Lloyd Sachs, Chicago Tribune

"Down the River Unto the Sea is a well-constructed crime novel, urgent in its plotting and carefully observed in the behaviors and the voices of its supporting cast. Mosley makes it all look simple, creating in Joe King Oliver another fascinatingly flawed detective brimming with potential."Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

"This is one of those books that leaves you a little breathless--not only while you're reading, but once the back cover's closed, too. For anyone who loves hard-bitten PI thrillers, reading Down the River unto the Sea couldn't be more right."Teri Schlichenmeyer, Miami Times


"Rekindles some of the remarkable energy that drove the early Rawlins novels. . . . Mosley writes with great power here about themes that have permeated his work: institutional racism, political corruption, and the ways that both of these issues affect not only society at large but also the inner lives of individual men and women. And he has created a new hero in Joe Oliver with the depth and vulnerability to sustain what readers will hope becomes a new series. . . . It's the perfect moment for Mosley to unveil an exciting new hero and a series set in the present and confronting the issues that drive today's headlines."Booklist (starred review)

"[An] excellent standalone . . . The novel's dedication--to Malcolm, Medgar, and Martin--underlines the difference that one man can make in the fight for justice."Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"A heady stew of racial politics and seedy characters that Mosley's fans are sure to eat up."AARP

"It's Mosley's signature style--rough-hewn, rhythmic, and lyrical--that makes you ready and eager for whatever he's serving up. . . . Let the good times roll."Kirkus Reviews

"Mosley's poetic descriptions of not only New York City but his character's deepest souls elevate the story to beauty. Although the characters, large and small, are all compelling, in the end it is King's story to tell, as he struggles to decide how much he's willing to risk to get the truth."Strand Magazine

"Mosley's newest standalone has the markings of a classic hard-boiled New York novel... It's also a poignant page-turner whose larger themes--corruption, institutional racism, and the horrors of solitary confinement--speak to some of today's most pressing issues."Charles Perry, LitHub

"[An] engaging standalone . . . Mosley fans will welcome another imaginative page-turning from a mystery grand master."Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9780316509633
ISBN-10: 0316509639
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: February 26th, 2019
Pages: 336
Language: English