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Publisher Description

New York Times bestselling author Walter Mosley introduces an "astonishing character" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) in this acclaimed collection of entwined tales. Meet Socrates Fortlow, a tough ex-con seeking truth and redemption in South Central Los Angeles -- and finding the miracle of survival.

"I either committed a crime or had a crime done to me every day I was in jail. Once you go to prison you belong there." Socrates Fortlow has done his time: twenty-seven years for murder and rape, acts forged by his huge, rock-breaking hands. Now, he has come home to a new kind of prison: two battered rooms in an abandoned building in Watts. Working for the Bounty supermarket, and moving perilously close to invisibility, it is Socrates who throws a lifeline to a drowning man: young Darryl, whose shaky path is already bloodstained and fearsome. In a place of violence and hopelessness, Socrates offers up his own battle-scarred wisdom that can turn the world around.

Fiction & Literature
June 22
Washington Square Press

Customer Reviews

Jadi16 ,

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

A glorious book. Sweet and terrible. There is majesty and honor, dignity and joy in the hardest of places. Unbelievably inspiring. It's kinda like your heart folds in on itself, and then opens wider than you could ever imagine.

Sheon ,


Sinking into the world of Socrates doesn't take long. The ride is as unpredictable as it is fun. Walter Mosley has a flare for the complexities of life that makes this story POP.

LA import ,

Amazing insight

I am grateful to Mr. Mosley, not only for having written a marvelous book -entertaining, well crafted, sensitive- about an endearing character, Socrates Fortlow, but also for having allowed any of us who haven't been subjected to it to understand -to begin to understand- the cumulated effect of discrimination and biggotry. Socrates Fortlow not only tries to live, but tries to figure out why and how to live. For a man who has committed murder and has spent a good many years in jail, it is hard work and he is never sure that he entirely gets it, but it doesn't deter him from trying. LA is a character too, from Watts to Santa Monica, with its dangerous alleys and its breaking waves, racially diverse and yet balkanized. As a bonus, the writing is superb: at times it grates and at times it soars. Mr. Mosley is a great writer.

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