It ain't easy being Easy. Especially not now, as Mosley ( White Butterfly ) brings his much-admired, reluctant L.A. sleuth, Easy Rawlins, to the cusp of the 1960s without his wife and daughter, his real estate riches or the hopes and ambitions that fueled his earlier years. Easy must grab at the $400 he's offered to locate Elizabeth Eady, a missing housekeeper who several years and a few lifetimes away was ``Black Betty,'' a sensual presence on the Houston streets where he grew up. Easy understands that Betty (``. . . a great shark of a woman. Men died in her wake'') has a mythical importance to him, but he doesn't know why the rich and dysfunctional California family she recently worked for is offering so much money to find her, or why her brother Marlon is also missing--and likely dead, given the spilled blood found in his place. Easy isn't always able to concentrate on the case. His pal Mouse, just out of the slammer, wants help finding the guy who sold him out to the cops; all the rage Mouse acts unthinkingly on, Easy feels too and struggles to contain. In measured, quietly emotive prose, Mosley moves his work away from conventional genre fiction, tinkering, abandoning and later returning to the mystery element. Nevertheless, the solution fully satisfies as Easy opts for smaller victories--not the white man's riches, but maybe a few bucks in his pocket and some time with the two adopted kids that now constitute his family. Author tour. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994 Release date: 06/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
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