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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Walter Mosley returns to the the turbulent, conflicted energies of 1960s Los Angeles with an Easy Rawlins mystery that's a direct sequel to his 1995 A Little Yellow Dog.
Asked for a favor by his longtime friend John, Easy hits the streets to make the kind of moves only he knows how to make. He's looking for John's stepson, Brawly Brown, a youthful giant who's mixed up with a radical black-power group, the Urban Revolutionary Party. Easy has barely started on his hunt when he discovers the corpse of Brawly's father and finds himself entangled in murder, politics, and a secret police spy network that monitors black extremists. Along with these troubles, Easy suffers from bouts of guilt involving the death of his best friend, the stone killer Mouse -- who, it turns out, may still be alive.
Mosley emphasizes sentiment and thoroughly details black culture, underscoring a harsh existence with scenes of abrupt violence. He remains in excellent form, conveying raw emotion through the medium of a taut plot. As always with his writing, the highest points come when he deals with the intricacy of race relations or the conflicted nature of his ever-evolving, most popular character: Easy has spent his life fighting to escape poverty and bloodshed, but even as he achieves his middle-class dreams he's perpetually drawn back to the terrors of the ghetto. The contradictions of such a man are matched by the complexity of the tumultuous L.A. landscape, and those emotional and historical resonances keep readers deeply engaged in the story.
With Bad Boy Brawly Brown, Walter Mosley again proves that his greatest ability is to fully realize the distressing but commonplace nature of despair, remorse, brutality, and the beauty found even in the fiercest of lives. This is yet another gripping and poignant work from one of America's most talented authors. (Tom Piccirilli)