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Description - Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley

Socrates Fortlow has spent 27 years in prison and can kill a man with his bare hands. But now he's out and determined to use his strength for good, to help the downtrodden and oppressed of the Los Angeles ghetto. Like his Greek namesake, Socrates Fortlow asks questions in an attempt to understand his world. His attempt to find morality in poverty and deprivation makes Socrates a modern-day hero.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781852427023
ISBN-10: 1852427027
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 129mm x 13mm)
Pages: 208
Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Publisher: Profile Books Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Jun-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned by Walter Mosley

UK Kirkus Review » Socrates Fortlow, who first appeared in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, has a first name which suggests wisdom while his surname is redolent of physical power and gladiatorial accomplishment. Now 'kissing sixty', the ex-convict needs all three of these attributes to make his uncertain way through a Los Angeles in which he rubs up against a psycho-cop, a fervent Christian, a suicidal ex-con and a rundown horn player, among others. Mosley's book is broken up into discrete sections through which run the threads of continuing narratives - Socrates's tribulations with Darryl, the boy whom he has adopted in all but name, and the police who see this man who has spent decades in prison as a soft touch for any of the area's unsolved crimes - that give it a realism which balances its symbolic and philosophical qualities. In one of those sections, Socrates kills another prison-hardened black man who has not had the time or the character to achieve his elder's fierce grace or maturity: that Walter Mosley is able to bring off a meeting between Socrates and the victim's mother is tribute to his unflinching examination of deep pain and his writerly craftsmanship. GBG loves Walter Mosley: you should read this book. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Mosley takes a break from his peerless Easy Rawlins series (Gone Fishin', 1997, etc.) for a cycle of non-mystery stories set in the same violent neighborhood of Watts. Like Easy, Socrates Fortlow has lived a long time with the dark side of life and himself. Thirty-five years ago, Socrates, addled with drink and lust, raped and killed a pair of acquaintances. Now, eight years after his endless prison sentence, he's living in a two-room apartment little better than his cell, and he still watches his back, avoids the Man, and assigns himself a grade at the end of every day. "Once you go to prison you belong there," he says of the brutalizing effect his term worked on him. But no matter how hard he tries, Socrates can't turn his back on life. A walk on the beach stirs memories and desires he'd rather not face; a tense face-off with a neighborhood adulterer awakens both his sharpest censure and his sharpest self-criticism. And he's not just a survivor; amid the allures of the flesh and the fear and anger he feels about being a black American, his life also lurches forward. He pushes the staff of the Bounty Supermarket to hire him as a grocery boxer; he takes in Darryl, a boy he can tell killed somebody else, too; he gets together with a WW II vet to expel a crack dealer from the neighborhood; he wrestles manfully with the question of whether he should rat a homicidal firebug out to the hated police. Whether he's remembering the bookstore intellectuals he used to hang around with or teaching Darryl to stand up to a gangbanger, Socrates constantly judges himself. As he writes to an old girlfriend: "I don't get into trouble even when it's not my fault." The elemental recurrence of fear and lust and rage are right out of Easy Rawlins, even if Socrates' story exhibits rather than extends Mosley's range. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley is the author of over twenty critically acclaimed books and his work has been translated into twenty-one languages. His popular mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins began with Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990, which was later made into a film starring Denzel Washington. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he now lives in New York.

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