Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned

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New York Times bestselling author Walter Mosley introduces an "astonishing character" (Los Angeles Times Book Review) in this acclaimed collection of entwined tales. Meet Socrates Fortlow, a tough ex-con seeking truth and redemption in South Central Los Angeles -- and finding the miracle of survival.

"I either committed a crime or had a crime done to me every day I was in jail. Once you go to prison you belong there." Socrates Fortlow has done his time: twenty-seven years for murder and rape, acts forged by his huge, rock-breaking hands. Now, he has come home to a new kind of prison: two battered rooms in an abandoned building in Watts. Working for the Bounty supermarket, and moving perilously close to invisibility, it is Socrates who throws a lifeline to a drowning man: young Darryl, whose shaky path is already bloodstained and fearsome. In a place of violence and hopelessness, Socrates offers up his own battle-scarred wisdom that can turn the world around.
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  • Washington Square Press | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451612462 | 
  • June 2010
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Read an Excerpt

Crimson Shadow: Section One

"What you doin' there, boy?"

It was six a.m. Socrates Fortlow had come out to the alley, to see what was wrong with Billy. He hadn't heard him crow that morning and was worried about his old friend.

The sun was just coming up. The alley was almost pretty with the trash and broken asphalt covered in half-light. Discarded wine bottles shone like murky emeralds in the sludge. In the dawn shadows Socrates didn't even notice the boy until he moved. He was standing in front of a small cardboard box, across the alley -- next to Billy's wire fence.

"What bidness is it to you, old man?" the boy... see more

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