"....few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into [her] heart. Those first images, the echo of words we think we have left behind, accompany us throughout our lives and sculpt a palace in our memories to which, sooner or later - no matter how many books we read, how many worlds we discover or how much we learn or forget - we will return." -Carlos Ruiz Zafon, The Shadow of the Wind

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Parishioner by Walter Mosley is not Easy

From what I've seen in the blogosphere, readers generally love Walter Mosley's latest, The Parishioner, which is offered to us as an e-book.  Dear Reader, I do not feel the love.  The best thing I can say about The Parishioner is that it's not terrible.

I like the concept.  A no-name church in a no-name place with an unordained minister.  The congregation contains sinners of the worst kind who have left their lives of heinous deeds behind and are trying to walk the path of righteousness.

Our guy, the Parishioner, has done some terrible things.  Murder not even being the chief among them.  His real crime is not caring about the lives he's destroyed. But once the pastor of the church with no name recruits him, he is a disciple.  It's almost as if he is in a trance.  He leaves the life behind, becomes a newspaper delivery man and does everything the minister tells him in order to be delivered from his sins.

The story revolves around a mission the pastor gives the Parishioner.  Help a fellow sinner atone for her sins by finding the now-grown boys she kidnapped and sold for adoption twenty three years ago.  The Parishioner knows this mission is going to put him smack dab in the middle of the places and people that will temp him back into his evil ways.  No matter, he's up for it.

There are several twists and turns.  Everyone and their mother ends up being involved in the convoluted mystery of what happened to these boys.  The Parishioner even dabbles in romance. 

There are some attractive themes here: can people change; is redemption possible; what exactly is religion, or faith for that matter?

My problem with all this?  This character feels like Mosley put Easy Rawlins, Socrates Fortlow and Leonid McGill in the blender and poured out a smoothie called The Parishioner.  I was somewhat entertained and mildly interested in the outcome, but in the end, I was seriously underwhelmed, and just kept thinking that the people, plot and scenery felt a little recycled.  I expect more from Walter Mosley.  I expect something or someone as good as Easy Rawlins.

There was one part of the book that I LOVED.  The last few pages contained an excerpt from the new Easy Rawlins mystery due out in 2013.  That's right Reader, Easy lives!

Are there books you have read by beloved authors that have let you down?

Photo credit: BugMan50