Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Blonde Faith - Walter Mosley

Blonde Faith
The Tenth Easy Rawlins Thriller
Walter Mosley
Little, Brown and Company


As the subtitle says, this is the tenth in the incredible Easy Rawlins series, and time has moved on, both for Easy and the city of Los Angeles. Readers unfamiliar with Easy will no doubt want to read the previous novels, and they should; these are some of the most beautifully written mysteries of our time. However, going back to the beginning, while rewarding, isn’t necessary to understanding Easy in 1967.

Time has, indeed, moved on, but has done very little to temper the racial tensions brewing in Los Angeles, particularly on the heels of the Watts riots. Overseas, Vietnam continues to claim victims, even after they arrive back Stateside. On the home front, Easy has waged a battle of his own, and may have lost the war. His long-time love, Bonnie, is having an affair. Easy throws her out of the house, determined to raise their adopted kids on his own. When Bonnie announces that she’s going to marry the other man, Easy has to confront the possibility that his mistake might have been the greater of the two. His feelings about his personal life and his past necessarily color his every action.

His present includes a search for his best friend, Mouse, who is missing. Mouse is well known to the police and is suspected in a recent murder. Mouse’s wife, Etta Mae asks Easy to find Mouse before something (else) bad happens. And the military appears on Easy’s doorstep, looking for his friend, Christmas Black, one of their men, and the subject of a manhunt. Christmas has been to Easy’s home, but only to drop off his adopted Vietnamese daughter and leave without a word of explanation. Easy knows his friends, he knows that in the wrong – or right – situations, they’re dangerous. And he knows that the chances are quite good that if he doesn’t find them first, they might well end up dead.

Walter Mosley is a master of elegant, almost minimalist prose that, nevertheless, manages to evoke the time and place and experience of Easy in a way that seems effortless. This time out, Easy’s problems with Bonnie, and the knowledge that his own pride has contributed greatly to the situation, tend to override much of the rest of the action, but that seems completely realistic. The tandem storylines of the searches for Mouse and Christmas never seem to compete for time or attention. The eventual outcome is quite unexpected, and could serve as a finale to the series. I truly hope not; the world is much richer with Easy Rawlins in it.

Rating: 9
October 2007
ISBN# 978-0-316-73459-2 (hardcover)


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