Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large – Walter Mosley

(Reviewed by JD Jung)


“I spent that morning inside the mind of a madman or a genius or maybe outside of what Lawless refers to as the hive mind, the spirit that guides millions of heedless citizens through the aimless acts of everyday life.”

Felix Orlean, a New York journalism student originally from New Orleans, answered four employment ads for a scribe. He soon discovers that his “would-be” employer, Archibald Lawless, is a charismatic, eccentric, and somewhat mentally ill detective.. He refers to him as  “The Anarchist”. He advises Felix, “Never give an inch to the letter of the law if it means submitting to a lie.”

Lawless strives to adhere to his purpose: “I’ve spent a whole lifetime trying to fix broken systems, making sure that justice is served.”

However instead of transcribing, Felix is assigned to report on some characters who turn out to be dangerous criminals. After witnessing a murder involving an international multi-million dollar jewelry heist, he finds himself in jail accused with the murder. But that’s only part of the story.

Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large is a riveting character- driven novella that has sociological and political overtones . At only 112 pages, neither plot nor character is compromised.

A definite must-read, I hope that there are more stories featuring this odd but driven detective.

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