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CNET Book Club, Episode 4: 'Down the River Unto the Sea' by Walter Mosley

We talk to the legendary author about his detective fiction, including a new book set in modern-day Brooklyn, as well as his genre-bending sci-fi.

Best known for his larger-than-life detective characters like Easy Rawlins and Leonid McGill, Walter Mosley has also written some amazing science fiction, taking a dark view of a future beset by the same problems of race, justice, politics and economics as his hard-boiled crime novels. 

Naturally, we jumped at the opportunity to talk to him about both his new work and his speculative fiction.

CNET Book Club, Episode 4: 'Down the River Unto the Sea' by Walter Mosley

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His latest novel is "Down the River Unto the Sea," which introduces a new character, a disgraced former police detective named Joe "King" Oliver. 

From his private detective's office in a rapidly gentrifying section of Brooklyn, Oliver uncovers a conspiracy to frame an activist for murder. At the same time, he gets his first shot in a decade at clearing his name in the scandal that got him kicked off the force. 

It's a great hard-boiled modern detective story, with just enough nods to technology, from hacked databases to tracked cell phones, to give it a different feel than the LA-based Easy Rawlins novels, mostly set in the 1940s and 1950s.

Another of our favorite Walter Mosley works is 2001's "Futureland," a collection of nine interconnected short stories set in near-future New York. 

The book feels even more current now than it did 17 years ago, with megalomaniacal billionaires planning Mars colonies, wearable technology to both enhance and control us, and advanced spy tech that can track anyone or anything. It reads like a perfect season of Black Mirror.

Watch or listen to our in-depth conversation with the always fascinating Walter Mosley, and if you've read "Down the River" or "Futureland," leave us your thoughts or a review in the comments below.

About CNET Book Club

The Book Club is hosted by a pair of self-proclaimed book experts: Dan Ackerman (author of the nonfiction video game history book "The Tetris Effect"), and Scott Stein, a playwright and screenwriter. We'll be announcing our next Book Club selection soon, so send us your suggestions and keep an eye out for updates on Twitter at @danackerman and @jetscott.

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Find "Down the River Unto the Sea" at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Google Play

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