Walter Mosley swears he’s through with Easy Rawlins, the appealing hero of his Los Angeles series set in the middle of the last century. In THE LONG FALL (Riverhead, $25.95), he introduces us to Leonid McGill, who lives in present-day New York and is an entirely different kind of guy. An ex-boxer and onetime fixer for mobsters, McGill has set up as a private eye and is trying to make amends for his past — which proves difficult when someone starts killing off the men he recently located for a paying client.

While nowhere near as charming as Rawlins, McGill is easy to like, given the character-building temptations that come his way as he tries to be an honest investigator and a good family man. What’s weird is that the book doesn’t feel as if it’s set in today’s New York. Were it not for the occasional jarring reference, like the “gap” in the skyline left by the World Trade Center, we might be in the New York of the 1950s, which is where McGill’s soul seems to reside. The man drives a 1957 Pontiac, speaks of “mooks” and “mutts,” and gravitates to places that are either anachronistic (seedy Gordo’s Gym) or beyond time (Coney Island). Happily, the terrific characters he meets in these off-the-grid places speak the same dated lingo and are caught in the same time warp. All things considered, McGill is someone you can definitely settle down with.

Marilyn Stasio

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