Little Green (Easy Rawlins Series #11)

Little Green (Easy Rawlins Series #11)

4.4 36
by Walter Mosley
     
 

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When Walter Mosley burst onto the literary scene in 1990 with his first Easy Rawlins mystery, Devil in a Blue Dress—a combustible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wright—he captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers (including future president Bill Clinton). Eleven books later, Easy Rawlins is one of the few private eyes in

Overview

When Walter Mosley burst onto the literary scene in 1990 with his first Easy Rawlins mystery, Devil in a Blue Dress—a combustible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wright—he captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers (including future president Bill Clinton). Eleven books later, Easy Rawlins is one of the few private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called iconic and immortal. In the incendiary and fast-paced Little Green, he returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of L.A.’s 1960s hippie haven, the Sunset Strip.

We last saw Easy in 2007’s Blonde Faith, fighting for his life after his car plunges over a cliff. True to form, the tough WWII veteran survives, and soon his murderous sidekick Mouse has him back cruising the mean streets of L.A., in all their psychedelic 1967 glory, to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, brewed by the conjure woman Mama Jo, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem. Written with Mosley’s signature grit and panache, this engrossing and atmospheric mystery is not only a trip back in time, it is also a tough-minded exploration of good and evil, and of the power of guilt and redemption. Once again, Easy asserts his reign over the City of (Fallen) Angels.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In 2007’s Blonde Faith, set in 1967, Easy Rawlins drove drunkenly off a cliff in what his creator indicated was likely his last appearance. Now, after two months of sliding in and out of consciousness, Easy begins the long journey back to the living, in Mosley’s superb 12th mystery featuring his iconic sleuth. Saved by Ray “Mouse” Alexander and the ministrations of Mama Jo, Easy is asked by Mouse to find Evander “Little Green” Noon, who went clubbing on the Sunset Strip and disappeared. Weakened but determined to keep moving, Easy is buoyed by Mama Jo’s potent brew she calls “Gator’s Blood” and the support of numerous friends, including Martin Martins and Jackson Blue. Things are changing in L.A., and Easy finds hope in the hippie culture. In the course of his search for Little Green, Easy earns an astonished accolade from Blue, who says he never thought he’d see the day “when Raymond Alexander had to tell Easy Rawlins to hold back.” If there were an Edgar for best comeback player, Easy Rawlins would be a shoo-in. 8-city author tour. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis Agency. (May)
From the Publisher

Advance Praise for LITTLE GREEN:

“In 2007’s Blonde Faith, set in 1967, Easy Rawlins drove drunkenly off a cliff in what his creator indicated was likely his last appearance. Now, after two months of sliding in and out of consciousness, Easy begins the long journey back to the living, in Mosley’s superb 12th mystery featuring his iconic sleuth…. If there were an Edgar for best comeback player, Easy Rawlins would be a shoo-in.”
Publishers Weekly (starred) 

"Mosley fans were pining for the resurrection of Rawlins.  Their dreams have come true.... Mosley returns here to doing what he does best: setting the pain and pleasure of individual lives, lived mostly in L.A.'s black community, within an instantly recognizable historical moment and allowing the two to feed off one another.... [A] major event for crime-fiction fans." 
—Bill Ott, Booklist

Library Journal
Evander “Little Green” Noon has gone missing, and Easy Rawlins is pulled into the mystery by sidekick Raymond “Mouse” Alexander. The African American PI, who knows the Los Angeles streets, is the go-to guy to find Evander, but a violent car accident leaves him incapacitated. Local shaman Mama Jo hands Easy a weird concoction called Gator’s Blood that provides miraculous strength. Easy then calls on his acute street smarts and embarks on his mission to find Evander. Following the 1967 Watts riots, the City of Angels is flush with hippies and racial tension, making it a challenge for Easy to get straight answers. He learns that finding a lost person is just the beginning of a complicated puzzle that will challenge his deep sense of loyalty.

Verdict Mosley’s latest addition to this series (after Blonde Faith) is a must-have for hard-boiled mystery fans as Easy and Mouse give the late Robert B. Parker’s Spenser and Hawk a run for their money. Street lit staples of betrayal, drug use, and abusive cops are part of this taut tale that rises above other mysteries through its strong African American protagonist. I want Easy Rawlins watching my back. [An eight-city tour.]—Rollie Welch, Cleveland P.L.
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
The 1967 Watts riots seem to have slowed down time for Easy Rawlins, who returns only a few weeks after his apparent death at the end of Blonde Faith (2007). That climactic car crash didn't kill Easy, but it left him weak as a kitten and prone to disturbing dreams of past and future. Only repeated drafts of Gator's Blood, the home brew cooked up by healer Mama Jo, allow Easy to escape the ministrations of martinet nurse Antigone Fowler and take to the streets again. As usual, his mission is straightforward--to find Evander Noon, whose mother, Timbale, is a friend of Easy's dangerous best bud Mouse Alexander--but his path is winding. His information takes him to Lula Success' brothel, where Evander dallied before leaving in the company of Maurice Potter. Coco, a prostitute born Helen Ray, leads Easy to Evander, who's been kidnapped by three gangsters and tied to a tree, and the pair, acting swiftly, free Evander and bring him home to his mother. But the conflicts that made those thugs snatch Evander obviously haven't been resolved by his rescue. In order to protect the wayward young man, Easy will have to find the links between insurance giant Proxy Nine, oil company TexOk, and the likes of sneak thief Charles Rumor and all-around nasty operator Haman Rose. Mosley is much more interested in bringing these characters and the social forces they represent to life than in connecting the dots. The result works better as anthropology than mystery, with barely a teaspoon of plot to a monstrous deal of aphorism Whether it's the lingering effects of his near-fatal accident or the infusions of Gator's Blood, Easy sounds less like Watts' signature private eye than one of the visionaries from Mosley's Crosstown to Oblivion novellas (Stepping Stone/The Love Machine, 2013, etc.).

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385535984
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/14/2013
Series:
Easy Rawlins Series , #11
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
703,073
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

1

I came half-awake, dead and dreaming. My eyes were open but I couldn’t focus on anything because I was still falling, as if the nightmare had followed me from sleep into the waking world. I didn’t know where I was or where I’d come from. But the bed under me was turning and falling and I, I was sure, had perished. This sensation was so real, so palpable that I closed my eyes and moaned. The movement of the bed then took on a temporal quality; instead of falling I had become unmoored in time: traveling backward and then forward through a life that was mine and yet, at the same time, foreign to me.

I watched my mother dying in the bedroom of our shanty house in New Iberia, Louisiana. She was laid up in a feather bed, a big woman who was trying to catch her breath but couldn’t inhale right. It sounded like she was drowning. She was so pretty, I thought. I had once loved her but could no longer raise this feeling in my heart. I might have even smiled as she shuddered under the labor of simple breathing.

Then I tumbled into a boxcar peopled by brooding and silent black men. They stared at the boy and he saw from their point of view a scared eight-year-old orphan child looking for companionship in those angry, bloodshot eyes. I was no longer that kid but had become those men who couldn’t care about another defenseless child orphaned and destined, probably, to die. I saw myself and wondered, almost idly, if that young son would live to the end of the line.

I was surprised to see that he had made it to Fifth Ward, Houston, Texas. Stealing oranges, skulking in back-alley corners, asking everyone he met if they knew a name—Martin. “My grandfather,” he said. He’d learned to speak up and stand straight. He already carried scars that would follow him through life but he found his grandfather: a hard man who allowed him to sleep on the outside front porch at night.

Time picked up speed after that. In an instant the boy, Ezekiel, was a young man, a fool who signed up for the army, for the war. He passed through North Africa, then Italy and France. He fought men and killed them out of reflex and fear. He liberated a concentration camp, a killer opening the gates for the dead and the dying and those left with the image of death permanently imprinted on their souls.

I was dying, no, had died.

Returning to Houston, the man, no longer weak or afraid, found that most of his friends in that part of town were deceased. Renfro had been slaughtered by a jealous woman named Theresa who in turn died from alcohol poisoning. Martin killed a white man and then shot himself in the burning shack where the boy had slept on the porch. Minna Rogers, Delphine Montesque, Michael Michaels, Big Boy Sanders, and dozens of others, all died while the boy-turned-man had survived the greatest war in history.

“Easy?”

There was a flood rising in the room that was swathed in darkness. My right ankle was shackled to the floor next to the bed, and the water was already up to my ears. I pulled against the chain but all that did was cause me pain. My ankle hurt like a motherfucker and the chain would not give. I tried to rise, hoping that I could float to the extent of the bond, that maybe I could keep my nose above water, but I knew somehow that my luck had run out, that Death had come in on me while I was distracted by the mountains of evil I had lived through. Just the fact that I could survive such terror made me guilty, and now he was coming up through the floorboards like he did for my mother.

Death. I had followed him through all the years of my life as he dropped bodies in my path as little reminders to me and others that the end of the road was no bed of roses, no kingdom come. It felt as if my whole life was an obstacle course, a slogging journey trying to catch up with Death, trying to get a good look at his face. . . .

“Easy.”

And then, up ahead, on my journey through a past life that no longer belonged to me, I saw his back; the Reaper was right there in front of me, carelessly firing a pistol into the night. I could reach out and touch his shoulder. When I did this he grunted and turned and I realized that I knew this being, this deadly force that had dogged me from the earliest moments of my life.

He was well dressed for any occasion or epoch. Smiling with a gold tooth that had a diamond embedded in it, he was a colored man, not black but light-skinned and light-eyed. A brother who had littered the road I traveled with so many dead that even he had lost count.

“Easy.”

His lips didn’t move but I recognized my name, my true name, not the one my dead father gave me. Raymond Alexander, known as Mouse to his victims and friends alike, smiled at me and I shivered in pleasure and fear.

“Ray,” I said, and his smile slowly diminished.

He stared at me and shook his head. I almost cried but then I remembered who I was and what I’d been through.

“No, man,” I said. “You can’t dismiss me like some schoolkid. You can’t turn your back on me after all these years.”

He smiled again, and even though I was dead I felt elation. This emotion was followed by the sense of falling again. There was a broad ocean rippling gently under a partial moon and the execution of a perfect accelerating arc of plummeting downward. A shackle was affixed painfully to my right ankle but, impossibly, Mouse was still standing there in front of me, his expression daring me to do something about the fix I was in.

“You expect me to fly, motherfucker?” I yelled.

Mouse laughed without sound and nodded at me.

“Easy, wake up.”

The command was feminine, a nuisance that somehow carried weight. The panorama of my hallucinatory journey called to me. I wanted to go off with Mouse, to follow the long line of dead black folks, soldiers, and Jews. I wanted to join the people I killed and the ones I couldn’t save. I wanted to shed my scarred and pain-riddled body. One more breath seemed like too much to bear.

“Easy, it’s time for you to wake up.”

I tried to open my eyes but I was a child again, a slave to sleep, needing just two more minutes of rest. But a hand shook my shoulder and little aches came awake through my upper torso and down my spine.

It was this pain that opened my eyes.

I could see after a fashion but my vision wasn’t proper yet. I couldn’t get a bead on the room I was in, but the beautiful Asian woman sitting beside me on the bed was clear and present as a Catholic priest preparing to give last rites.

Instead of incense there was a mild floral scent of perfume.

“Lynne?” I said. My voice was hoarse and congested, cracking hard enough that I thought my throat might bleed.

“I didn’t think you were ever going to wake up, Easy,” the Chinese bit-part TV actress claimed.

“I died,” I said.

She almost responded but then moved to a chair next to the head of my bed.

Meet the Author

WALTER MOSLEY is the author of more than forty books, including eleven previous Easy Rawlins mysteries, the first of which, Devil in a Blue Dress, was made into an acclaimed film starring Denzel Washington. Always Outnumbered was an HBO film starring Laurence Fishburne, adapted from Mosley’s first Socrates Fortlow novel. A native of Los Angeles and a graduate of Goddard College, he holds an MFA from CCNY and lives in Brooklyn, New York. He is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
New York, New York
Date of Birth:
January 12, 1952
Place of Birth:
Los Angeles, California
Education:
B.A., Johnson State College
Website:
http://www.waltermosley.com

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Little Green 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 36 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Easy Rawlins series. This one doesn't disappoint! It is a little different from the others but Easy is Easy. Mouse is Mouse and Mosely is Mosely. Enjoy the read. I am about to read it again.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is so exciting to read about Easy's return to LA's scene along with his longtime friend, Mouse. I have read all of Walter Mosley's books and he scored a home run again. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fast-paced adventure.
OOSABookClub More than 1 year ago
“Little Green” by Walter Mosley is the 12th installment in the Easy Rawlins Mysteries. This was the first time I ever read a Walter Mosley novel, so in the beginning of this novel I soon discovered that there must have been quite a cliffhanger from the previous novel, “Blonde Faith.” Nevertheless, I was able to understand what had happened in the previous novel - that Easy was left for dead after running his car off of a cliff. Easy is soon found fighting for his life and is in a coma for quite some time. When Easy awakens he finds himself surrounded by family and friends. Although in a lot of pain, he realizes that his life was spared. The questions he asks himself are: why and for what reason? Mouse, his best friend and dangerous sidekick, makes a request of Easy to look into the disappearance of a young black man, Evander ‘Little Green’ Noon. Easy cannot understand what is so important that Mouse would come to him to look into the disappearance, but soon realizes that Mouse has secrets of his own and that Evander’s mother cannot stand Mouse for some inexplicable reason. The question is why? Rising from his bed shortly after coming out of the coma Easy searches the streets of the last known place that Evander was seen, downtown in L.A. where the hippies reside. Easy is about to discover that not only is he searching for Evander but others are too. Why? Will he find him before the ones out to harm him do? “Little Green” by Walter Mosley is a very good read. I cannot believe that I have never read anything of his prior to this. After reading the 12th installment in this series I plan to go back and read the series from the very beginning. I have questions about some of his family and other characters. I would like to see how they came to be part of Rawlins’ adopted family. The overall story is interesting because it is a mystery that is set during 1967. Mr. Mosley does a great job in his descriptive narrative of what the streets looked like and the characters during this time frame. It is a very good story and I look forward to picking up more books by Mr. Mosley in the near future. Reviewed by: Leona
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was exciting and suspenseful. The gradual increase of Easy's prowess was realistic. Although Mosley increased the level of vocabulary, I was able to complete the novel in two days.
Hootchdoc More than 1 year ago
This was like a reunion with long lost friends. It has all the magic of every book in this series: a great plot, wonderful larger than life characters and some Easy social commentary thrown in. I also appreciated more the deft way in which Mosley creates a story with mythic qualities without disturbing the gritty feel of modern life. Easy always has a grateful friend more than willing to help him overcome any obstacle or foe, even death. It has all the magic of King Arthur, The Magic Flute or Harry Potter without our ever feeling we have left our own world. My only complaint is that it ended too soon.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
Apparently, the author got tired of Easy Rawlins six years ago, and had him drive over a cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway in what was either a possible suicide attempt or an accident. But like Conan Doyle, he could not resist bringing him back to life in this fascinating novel, leaving it to Mouse to find Easy and then struggle to carry him up a mountain and to a bed in which Easy lay in a semi-coma for months. When, finally, Easy wakens, still weak, Mouse asks him to help find Evander, whom he calls Little Green, the 19-year-old son of an acquaintance. It seems that Evander went up to the Sunset Strip, where he met a “hippie” girl, ingested LSD and ended up in possession of more than a quarter of a million dollars belonging to a gangster. Weak but fortified by a voodoo elixir, Easy finds the boy and then embarks on a beguiling journey to learn just what happened while Evander was in a drug-induced fog and to whom the money belonged, and then eliminate the dangers to the boy. Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins mysteries are in a class by themselves, featuring a black PI who is a survivor of the Battle of the Bulge and other World War II battles, in ‘60’s LA just after the Watts riots when the area is rampant with mistrust and prejudice against the minority blacks, irreverent, well-read, and the father of ‘found’ children, one of whom who lives both inside as well as outside the law. It’s wonderful to have him back after a too-long hiatus, and the novel is recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story moved quickly and held my attention. Did not want to put the book down. Each character is painted with such precision that the reader actually can see and hear them.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book! I ready for the next Easy Rawlins #13 is sure to be a charm.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was very upset with Mr. Mosley when Easy Rawlins went off the cliff in 2007, but my old friend is back. Reading this book was like catching up with friends from the 'old neighborhood' Thank you for saving Easy Rawlins!
mshoni More than 1 year ago
The best thing about these mysteries is that the city of Los Angeles and the era that they take place in are each characters just as important as Easy and Mouse. Even though Little Green picks up only a short time after the last book, Blonde Faith, ended, it's clear that the times are changing fast. Recovering from driving off a cliff, Easy agrees to help his friend Mouse find a missing young man, "Little Green", who has disappeared after a bad drug trip. Easy really should be recuperating, but with help from a strange potion made by Mama Jo, he hits the streets to work on his latest case. In classic noir mystery style, nothing fazes Easy Rawlins. Whether maneuvering through the hippie masses on Sunset Strip, sleeping in a makeshift drug commune set up in an upscale mansion, or helping a friend with a corporate espionage case, he takes it all in stride, in pain, and doped up on that potion. Meanwhile, we, the reader, are on the edge of our seats with worry.
BlackVelvet More than 1 year ago
I love Walter Mosley! His writing always makes think of film noir. I have read pretty much the whole series. I have read his other work. He can be pretty graphic at times but that makes his voice very real.
mjr206 More than 1 year ago
I knew it, I knew it, I knew Walter Mosley was not going to kill off his most famous character, Easy Rawlins, I also knew Mouse was going to be instrumental in finding & saving Easy, I am so glad Easy and Mouse are back. Way to go Mr. Mosley. And Thanks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I pre-ordered the hardcover  of the awaited Little Green in hopes of getting one with the author's signature.  Alas, no such luck.  But my disappointment was short lived.  This book grabbed me from the beginning.  What an inventive way to"revive" a supposedly dead character!  I really enjoy the reactions to the changes of the early '60s where even a white man might  be a black man's ally.  I haven't finished the book yet.  I am savoring it, trying to make it last a bit longer--  even though the wonderful writing tempts me to devour it.  A longtime fan of Mr. Mosely's work, M
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy and Mouse, my favorite twosome. As usual the two find lots of trouble and deal with it their way. I love that the characters are getting older and Walter Mosley notes that LA is changing. Keep up the good work Walter Mosley, keep giving us the Easy/Mouse combo.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the Easy Rawlins series. I was crushed when Easy drove over that cliff in the last book and was so excited to see that Mr. Mosely brought my dear friend back to life. The book was very good. While Easy searched the streets for the missing boy, he also wrestled with being dead and realized that as tough as he is, love was the only thing that took him over that cliff. It was great catching up with the other characters, Mouse, Feather, Jesus, Ma Jo and the others. Excellently written, Mr. Mosely makes you feel like you are living in the book, it was such a smooth read. I really enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Anonymous 23 days ago
Mosley is the man.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story very much and am looking forward to the next book. The narrators of the book really bring the story to life and I enjoy listening to the cd as I am commuting or travelling down the highway. I have been a long time fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
He's alive, he's alive!!! Easy is NOT dead. At first that was hard to believe and wrap my mind around, but Mr. Mosley set everything straight with rehashes of what happened after that terrible accident and made me really accept that Easy is living. This was a good read. I enjoyed the mystery the chases the fights the characters from the past (that are still dead but gave much clarity to the story at hand). Youngsters in love. Easy still in love with Bonnie Shay. Family love. Mystery-Love-Chases-Shootings-Deaths-Revenge-Closure, this book had everything!!! SDCexy
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Bios
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