I have a new favorite private detective, and his name is Easy Rawlins.
Ezekiel “Easy’’ Rawlins has been around for a long time, solving crimes in post-World War II Los Angeles, largely during the turbulent 1960s. Walter Mosley’s first Easy Rawlins book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was published in 1990, and made into a movie starring Denzel Washington. Since then Mosley has written 13 more books about the talented African American detective with a heart of gold. Mosley took a break after his 2007 novel and didn’t revisit his detective until Little Green in 2013. That’s where I decided to pick up the series, and went on to read Rose Gold and this year’s excellent Charcoal Joe.
Even though the books take place more than fifty years ago, the racial tensions that Mosley addresses in his exquisite prose still are unfortunately relevant and eye-opening. Easy always is aware that he must exercise caution when dealing with the suspicious and largely white police force. While Easy is adept at solving murders, what endears him to me is his strong devotion to his adoptive children, Feather and Jesus, and to his close, memorable circle of friends. I regret I didn’t read Mosley’s books sooner, and plan to eventually go back at the beginning of the Easy Rawlins series. Check him out!