Cover image for Walkin' the dog
Walkin' the dog
Mosley, Walter.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Little, Brown, [1999]

Physical Description:
260 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
FICTION Adult Fiction Open Shelf
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Library
FICTION Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense
FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Socrates Fortlow, an ex-convict forced to define his own morality in a lawless world, confronts wrongs that most people would rather ignore and comes face-to-face with the most dangerous emotion: hope. It has been nine years since his release from prison, and he still makes his home in a two-room shack in a Watts alley. But he has a girlfriend now, a steady job, and he is even caring for a pet, the two-legged dog he calls Killer. These responsibilities make finding the right path even harder - especially when the police make Socrates their first suspect in every crime within six blocks.--BOOK JACKET. "In each chapter of Walkin' the Dog, Socrates challenges a different conundrum of modern life. In "Blue Lightning, " he is offered a better-paying job but has to consider whether the extra pay is worth the freedom he would have to give up. In "Promise, " he keeps a vow made long ago to a dying friend, and learns that a promise to one person can mean damage to another. In "Mookie Kid, " he gets a telephone and,learns that the price of being able to reach others is that others can contact him - whether he wants to be reached or not."--BOOK JACKET. "Walkin' the Dog builds to a stunning climax as Socrates takes on a rogue cop who has terrorized his neighborhood."--BOOK JACKET.

Author Notes

Walter Mosley was born in Los Angeles, California on January 12, 1952. He graduated from Johnson State College in Vermont. His first book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was published in 1990, won a John Creasy Award for best first novel, and was made into a motion picture starring Denzel Washington in 1995. He is the author of the Easy Rawlins Mystery series, the Leonid McGill Mystery series, and the Fearless Jones series. His other works include Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, 47, Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, and Twelve Steps toward Political Revelation. He has received numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, the Carl Brandon Society Parallax Award, and PEN America's Lifetime Achievement Award.

(Bowker Author Biography) Walter Mosley is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries, the novels "Blue Light" and "RL's Dream", and two collections of stories featuring Socrates Fortlow, "Always Outnumbered", "Always Outgunned", for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award, and "Walkin' the Dog". He is a member of the board of directors of the National Book Awards and the founder of the PEN American Center's Open Book Committee. At various times in his life he has been a potter, a computer programmer, & a poet. He was born in Los Angeles & now lives in New York.

(Publisher Provided)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

In Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997), ex-con and convicted murderer Socrates Fortlow fought a kind of rear-guard action to bring a little kindness into the troubled lives of the people around him in his besieged Watts neighborhood: a few vials of morphine, acquired from a pusher, to ease the pain of a friend's prostate cancer; safe haven for one teenage boy, at risk from the local gangbangers. Almost in spite of himself, the 59-year-old Socrates now feels compelled to do more. As his personal situation improves--a new job as produce manager in a grocery story, a real apartment rather than makeshift digs in an abandoned building--Socrates finds himself more and more troubled by the pain he sees on the street. In this second volume of interconnected stories, Mosley gives the Socrates Fortlow saga a new political dimension. As Socrates debates questions of race and responsibility with his friends from the neighborhood, his anger rises, and he must struggle again with the violence that lurks in his "rock-breaking" hands. But Socrates goes another way, risking his hard-won security to expose the evils perpetuated by a rogue cop. Overtly political fiction is desperately difficult to pull off; nothing saps the life from an author's characters as fast as an author's message. Mosley avoids this lethal trap by portraying Socrates' commitment to help change his neighborhood as the inevitable result of a single individual's agony rather than the triumph of an idea. If we hear a little of Tom Joad in Socrates' declaration that he's "gonna do somethin'," we also feel Ma Joad's melancholy, her yearning for safety. Mosley's triumph is that, in telling the story of a saint, he makes us wish the saint was free to be a man. --Bill Ott

Publisher's Weekly Review

Mosley can readily manage more than one empathetic series hero, and in Socrates Fortlow, introduced in Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, he has a winner. Socrates is a former jailbird doing his best to go straight in a seamy Los Angeles full of temptation, and the novel is an examination, as powerfully relaxed as Socrates himself, of how his life works. He lives in a tiny shack in a back alley in Watts, tries to stay out of the way of the ever-suspicious cops, does a little loving (the cheerful sensuality of Mosley's writing about sex strikes exactly the right note), unwittingly acts as a role model for an unhappy teenager and eventually becomes a national symbol for his placard-wielding protest against police brutality. Where some writers would make this the pivot of their plot, it is no more than incidental to this tale, as Socrates continues to go on his quiet, unostentatious way until the fuss dies down. This is a deceptively low-key book that sneaks up on a reader with the realization of how much can be revealed by artfully chosen, dead-accurate dialogue, and how fully a uniquely admirable and always unexpected personality has been brought to life. Time Warner audio; 6-city author tour. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Mosley's philosophical ex-convict Socrates Fortlow makes his second appearance in this excellent audio adaptation of the wonderful novel. Mirroring the structure of Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, the 12 chapters of Walkin' the Dog, narrated by M.E. Willis, present Socrates's adventures in Los Angeles, where he now has a steady job in a supermarket, a girl friend, a mentoring relationship with a high school boy, and a broad network of friends. The central theme of the episodes is Socrates's efforts to remain straight and out of jail while continuing his journey of self-discovery and finding his connection with the community and the larger world. One of the best audiobooks of the year, this is very highly recommended for all libraries.ÄStephen L. Hupp, Urbana Univ., OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Blue lightningp. 3
Promisep. 25
Shift, shift, shiftp. 47
What would you do?p. 69
A day in the parkp. 87
The muggerp. 107
That smellp. 125
Walin' the dogp. 145
Mookie kidp. 175
Moving onp. 197
Rascals in the canep. 217
Roguep. 233