cover image A Little Yellow Dog: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

A Little Yellow Dog: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Walter Mosley. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc, $23 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-393-03924-5

Easy Rawlins is back (after his last appearance in Black Betty), which is great news for readers intrigued by Mosley's noir L.A. settings and his resourceful, street-smart hero. It's the early 1960s, and Easy has settled for a quiet, respectable life, out of touch with his raffish old comrades, making a home for his two adopted kids, working as a maintenance supervisor at a public school in Watts. But dead bodies interfere with his solid existence: first, a well-dressed corpse shows up in the school gardens; next, the first corpse's twin is discovered at the home of an attractive teacher at the school who has disappeared--leaving Easy, who has enjoyed a quick tumble with her, to look after her little dog, Pharaoh. When white police (even an ambitious Latino sergeant) come sniffing around, Easy draws their close attention; in that time and place, independent black men were automatic suspects in any mayhem. It is Mosley's great gift to make the racist atmosphere palpable without rubbing it in, and to show the depths of courage and tenacity in his marginal characters without preachiness. In the violent events that build to a bloody climax on the day JFK is shot, Easy and his friends, despite all their failings, hold to a code that never falters, meeting the worst life can throw at them with humor and grit. Mosley's thrillers, always thrilling, are salutary as well. BOMC and QPB selections; author tour. (July)