Great detective story writers can rise to being solid novelists. Ross MacDonald was clearly in this category. With Gone Fishin', Walter Mosley has attained that distinction in a new way -- he has gone into a new fictional genre.
Although this novel has the usual crime overlay, it is really a novel about coming of age in the South as a black person before the days of integration progress. With few books available on this subject, I suspect that Mosley may have set the standard for other authors to meet.
For me, a lot of the charm of the Easy Rawlins stories is their historical setting in the more prejudiced days of the past. How does an intelligent, honorable black person deal with this? The stories are interesting for both what they say about society and for the great plots and character development.
This book, a prequel to the others in the series, does the same, but in a different setting -- far a way from Southern California.
I found it to be an excellent gothic novel, and encourage you to read it as such. If you open this book expecting another Easy Rawlins detective story, you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you leave yourself open to what you find here, you will probably be rewarded. Moseley's fans need to live up to his talent, and follow him where his skills take him.
If you have not read the Walter Mosley books before, I suggest you start with this one. You'll make more sense out of the rest of the series. You'll also be less likely to be disturbed by the shift in genre. Anyone who enjoys this book will find the detective novels to be an easy follow on.