As usual, Easy Rawlins has other things on his mind; he just wants to earn his keep and stay out of the trouble. But toxic reality keeps breaking through. It invades his life this time with the unannounced arrival of Chrismas Black's daughter, Easter, at his doorstep. For street-savvy L.A. detective Rawlins, the message of the parcel is clear: Chrismas has either been murdered or is heading rapidly in that direction. Other things are happening, too. Easy's lady love is marrying another man, and his trouble-prone buddy, Mouse, is being hunted for a particularly heinous crime. Inner-city intrigues; a writer's writer; not one wasted word.
Mosley has been accused of writing purple prose, a charge the sex scenes in Blonde Faith are unlikely to dispel. Outside the bedroom, though, his compact dialogue continues to sparkle, and his scene-setting is as skillful as ever. It could very well be that we critics fail to fully appreciate Mosley's talents because his Rawlins mysteries appear to come off so effortlessly. They bring to mind a former N.B.A. All-Star's modest attempt to explain his otherworldy playmaking to a group of ordinary mortals. "If it looks easy," he said, "it's not."
The New York Times
Mosley's Easy Rawlins books were always about acquiring property, which was the American dream in post-WWII Los Angeles. But lately Rawlins's expanding family has taken center stage and death has darkened the landscape. "We born dyin.' If it wasn't for death, we'd never draw a breath," says Michael Boatman as an old man who knew Rawlins's grandfather back in Texas. That theme is echoed by several other characters, especially Etta, the wife of Raymond "Mouse" Alexander, Easy's childhood friend and a born killer who has disappeared. Boatman, a veteran narrator of numerous Mosley novels, has a quiet and natural style that perfectly catches the voices of Etta, Rawlins's lover Bonnie and especially Rawlins himself. Boatman's beautifully controlled performance compliments all the rich shadings Mosley gives his private eye, now 18 years older than the optimistic young soldier introduced in Devil in a Blue Dress, who's feeling depressed and adrift in the riot-filled L.A. of 1967. An extremely frightening ending supports Mosley's claim that Easy's 10th mystery may be his last. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 6). (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Mosley's tenth installment in his groundbreaking Easy Rawlins series finds the L.A. detective in his usual state-up to his neck in blood, corpses, and, perhaps worse, family tribulations. The story is set in post-Watts riots 1967, and Easy, now 47, is hired to track down two friends: Christmas Black, a former Green Beret who left his adopted Vietnamese child at Easy's house before disappearing, and everyone's favorite sociopath, Raymond "Mouse" Alexander, whom the police are out to kill. But Easy has his own problems. Emotionally volatile after losing his soul mate, Bonnie Shay, Easy is tortured by regret and self-doubt; he's on a collision course with his grief and must either change direction or crash. As he ages, Easy is a man groping for stability in an increasingly unstable world. More than one man's journey, Mosley's Easy Rawlins series is a chronicle of the shifting landscape of race relations from the 1940s to the 1960s and is destined to become part of the American-and not just African American-conscience. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ6/15/07.]
Easy Rawlins's 10th case (Cinnamon Kiss, 2005, etc.), set in 1967, is a tale of three missing men, each with a personal connection to Watts's definitive private eye. There's nothing unusual about the LAPD looking for Mouse Alexander, who went missing the day before Pericles Tarr, the inventory clerk he's suspected of killing, also dropped off the map. Nor is there anything unprecedented about a child turning up in Easy's home, the way Easter Dawn, the precocious Vietnamese girl ex-Marine Christmas Black adopted, does without a note or a word of explanation from her father. What's unusual here is the way Easy's attention, which ought to be focused by the gung-ho soldiers in pursuit of Christmas Black, keeps shifting from one disappearance to another. In truth, his mind isn't really on any of them; he can't stop thinking about Bonnie Shay, the flight attendant he threw out when she took up with an African prince. Certain he should have begged Bonnie to return, Easy is especially distracted after she phones to announce her upcoming marriage. But that doesn't prevent him from pursuing a new romance with UCLA student Tourmaline Goss and responding to the embraces of troubled bank officer Faith Laneer, none of which prevent him from feeling "lost in my own home, in my own skin."Familiar territory for both Mosley (Killing Johnny Fry, 2007, etc.) and Easy, who sounds a lot more ancient than his 47 years.
Mosely uses first-person narration for his Rawlins stories, so readers can get deeply inside the psyche of his unusual and complex main character. In providing Easy's audio voice, Boatman strikes not one false note, and his differentiation of the other characters is solid and equally convincing.KLIATT