Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

After four increasingly well-received crime novels starring Los Angeles PI Easy Rawlins, Mosley has moved strongly ahead to a more searching and deeply felt style and subject. He writes here of Atwater ``Soupspoon'' Wise, a battered, failing relic of a man who once played backup to legendary Delta jazz guitarist Robert ``RL'' Johnson and who is now barely surviving on New York's Lower East Side. When we meet him, Soupspoon, who has cancer, is being evicted from his tiny apartment. Enter Kiki Waters, a hard-drinking, profane redhead who fled a life of horror and incest in Arkansas and now ekes out an uneasy living at a Wall Street insurance firm. With her tough street smarts, she stops the eviction cold, uses her office know-how to fake lavish health insurance for Soupspoon and moves him in with her. They cling together, these two outcasts from hard times, Soupspoon with a gentleness born of deep resignation, Kiki with a protective desperation fueled by booze and rage. Gradually, Soupspoon's life begins to mend: someone he knew as a kid in the South offers him a gig at his after-hours drinking place; a pretty young girl is drawn to his sweetness. But for Kiki, the only way out is through violence and flight. Mosley has always been a vivid writer, but here his work achieves a constant level of dark poetry: he flawlessly integrates Soupspoon's and Kiki's past harsh lives and memories with the keenly observed contemporary New York slum scene as the bittersweet blues constantly sound somber chords beneath. There is no false sentimental note anywhere in the book, just a deeply moving creation of two extraordinary people who achieve a powerful humanity where it would seem almost impossible it should exist. Author tour. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

In a departure from his popular Easy Rawlins mysteries, Mosley sketches the life of an aging bluesman wo recalls a memorable moment: playing with a legend named Robert "RL" Johnson. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

This searingly eloquent requiem for a bluesman tells the story of Soupspoon Wise, a 70-year-old guitar player and singer from the Mississippi Delta, who once played with Robert Johnson and now faces the horror of a lonely death in New York City. Thrown together with a young southern woman with problems of her own, Soupspoon is rejuvenated as the unlikely pair share their pain and keep their demons at bay, at least momentarily. Fans will enjoy comparing Soupspoon's take on Johnson's death with Atkins' version.


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Atwater "Soupspoon" Wise, an aging bluesman in New York City, is evicted from his apartment. Kiki Waters, a young white woman, takes him in, nursing him back to health and forging the necessary health insurance information to get him treated for cancer. The two form a strange friendship; both are from the South, and both have left behind pasts that demand to be dealt with. Soupspoon knew the legendary Robert "RL" Johnson in his youth and is haunted by the desire to learn the secret of Johnson's music; Kiki was abused by her father and ran away in her early teens. Mosley's swirl of characters, locales, and memories is intoxicating, and the plot moves forward relentlessly, taut as the mystery novels (e.g., Black Betty, LJ 5/1/94) for which he is renowned. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/95.]‘David Dodd, Univ. of Colorado at Colorado Springs (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.