Read as part of CBR13Bingo: Old Series. The Easy Rawlins series debuted in 1990.
As the times change, Walter Mosley has changed his most famous creation with them. He’s also changed his style. I don’t know if it’s for better or worse but I like it.
I’ve written on his Leonid McGill series about how Mosley has incorporated some surrealist existentialism into those works and how they felt different to what he had written before.
These don’t read like McGill books but they do have moments similar to that. Easy has moved from typical mysteries in postwar Los Angeles to mystery/philosophy tales in groovy late-60s LA, where the players have changed but the game remains the same for Black Angelenos.
The plot is complicated the way Mosley books sometimes are and he has an added strand that it doesn’t need but I was able to follow it more than most and I felt like it resolved itself well. Along the way, Easy meets various characters of Los Angeles at that particular time and place. Mosley is so good at excavating the American story through the characterization he gives folks. They feel like archetypes who speak in the lingo of their circumstances. Michael Corleone once said that as far as America is concerned, we are all a part of the same hypocrisy. That feels like the thesis for these novels.
This is still one of my favorite series out there and I’ll follow it as long as Mosley is putting out the work. He’s unlike any writer I know and we’re all the better for it.