Monday, August 07, 2006

[Book Review] DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley

Fiction/Genre: Mystery

Terrice Thomas reviews DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley (Norton, 1990):

Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at an aircraft manufacturing plant for standing up to his white boss. Easy is desperate for money so that he can pay his mortgage and not lose the pride and joy of home ownership. A friend introduces him to a sleazy character named Dewitt Albright, who offers Easy a lot of money to look for a white woman who's been hanging out with a local gangster at illegal after-hours black clubs. Easy finds that he's not the only one looking for Ms. Monet and soon he's up to his neck in bootleggers, crooked politicians, and racist cops. As events move beyond Easy's grasp, he has to call on his old friend from Houston, Mouse (a very nasty character) to help him out. In the end, Easy finds himself becoming an unlikely detective after he finds Ms. Monet and solves the murders of several people connected to her.

The story is a quick-read with much dialogue and some descriptions. This first book in Mosley's Easy Rawlins series is enjoyable for its settings, suspense and characters. There's some good tension between Mouse and Easy. Mosley does a masterful job of depicting post-World War II Los Angeles, a multiethnic city that is largely socially segregated.

Terrice Thomas, LINC Department

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You've identified what *must* be one of Walter Mosley's central concerns--recounting the "pride and joy of home ownership" for black working class people living in South Central L.A. I am reminded of August Wilson's plays set in St. Paul, MN and Romare Bearden's collages.

I want to go on and on about this important topic...I am reminded of debates and conversations from my graduate studies in African American history...I am going to let this comment sit for a few weeks and see if there are any takers before I say more...
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