CBR Bingo: Gateway (favorite genre: Mystery)
I love a good mystery, and this is a good mystery. I was surprised, actually, by how much I enjoyed this since typically this kind of hardboiled, seedy-underbelly, protagonist has seen some shit mysteries aren’t the type of mystery I go for.
Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is a WWII vet living in LA in the late 40s, down on his luck, who is approached by a man offering a lot of money if Easy can find a woman who’s gone missing. Easy is Black, the man he’s working for (and the woman he’s looking for) are White, and a lot of the book covers how he navigates environments where he’s the only Black man. In post WWII Los Angeles, this, as you can imagine, is often terrifying.
This book has the spare, straightforward prose you expect from a noir-ish mystery, but what sets it apart is Easy. He’s such a fantastic character. Easy has a “Voice” that he listens to who sometimes tells him how to behave in certain dangerous situations. This Voice first came to him during WWII, in life or death situations, but in Devil in a Blue Dress these life or death situations mainly involve two White policemen who are trying to pin a murder on him. I’m sure as the series goes on, Easy’s war experiences and the Voice will be explored even more. I found the idea of this Voice, and the way it was used, to be extremely compelling.
While this story travels along some expected pathways for a story of its kind, it has several unique qualities that make it stand out. Now that I’ve started I plan to read the entire series.