Richard Laymon Same Vein


Date of Release: Oct '98

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Review Source:


Walter Mosley, better known for his Easy Rawlins detective novels, breaks with tradition and serves up a bittersweet and sometimes shocking short story collection. The 14 stories follow the life of Socrates Fortlow who, only eight years after serving out a prison sentence for murder, lives in a tiny, two-room Watts apartment, where he drinks and fights with his internal demons. Socrates, who must try to control his volcanic rage and "rock-breaking" hands, is trying to live the life of an honorable black man on the edge of white society. He's just trying to survive.

Readers familiar with the Easy Rawlins novels may find themselves a bit lost with Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, as there is no real mystery to solve in this collection of stories. In fact, there is very little holding the collection together at all, except our main character. However, this is more of a character study, as we watch Socrates try to come to terms with the chaos, poverty, and violence around him. Make no mistake, however, this is still a gritty and realistic portrayal of the life and crimes in Watts. Mosley is adept at painting characters with a deft hand and Socrates, his characterisation perfect, will stay with you for a long time after you finish the book.

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