Monday, May 5, 2014

DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS by Walter Mosley


*Book 1 of the Easy Rawlins Series*

This book is firmly on my list of favorite novels, and the beginning to what I believe to be an essential detective series. Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a young black WWII veteran who has lost his job and is eager to jump at an opportunity when a shady white businessman hires him to locate a pretty white woman named Daphne Monet, who is known for gettin' her party on at black nightclubs.

This is not only one of the best debut crime novels, but also features what I think is one of the best series characters, especially in the detective genre. I think that Easy is a wonderful character and dissimilar to other film noir detectives in a number of ways. He is a totally reluctant investigator. He doesn't have an office or a secretary, and proves to be great at the job because of his wits, his relationships, his awareness of race, and being in touch with his community. And you can actually believe why women are attracted to him. It's great witnessing the change in him as he uncovers secrets that he is unprepared for. I love how evocative the book is of 1940's inner city Los-Angeles, especially in the South Central area. It has a complicated and intriguing plot, and because of Walter Mosley's soulful and effortless prose, this detective story never gets boring.

An awesome running start to a wonderful series that evolves in great ways. The series should definitely be read in order but other standout novels in the series include A Little Yellow Dog, as well as the later novels like Little ScarletCinnamon Kiss, and Blonde Faith.

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