Kemper's Reviews > A Red Death

A Red Death by Walter Mosley
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Oct 18, 11

bookshelves: 2011-r, crime-mystery, detectives, noir

It’s been said that nothing is certain but death and taxes. Easy Rawlins has dealt with plenty of death as a black World War II veteran who also has been mixed up with very bad people in post-war Los Angeles. But this time he’ll have to deal with taxes, too. Which is worse? Ask Al Capone.

Set in the early ‘50s, it’s been a few years since Easy’s introduction in Devil in a Blue Dress, and he has set himself up nicely by taking advantage of an illicit windfall to buy some apartment buildings as well as acting as an unlicensed private detective for the black community. Easy got a little too cute for his own good when he set up his real estate purchases and now he has a zealous IRS agent after him. His only way out is take a deal offered by the FBI to befriend and report on a suspected communist agitator working with a church in Easy’s neighborhood.

Easy soon has even bigger problems than being sent to prison for tax evasion with the appearance of an old flame looking to rekindle a relationship. The problem is that the woman is the wife of Easy’s old friend, the murderous Mouse. Getting on Mouse’s bad side is a sure way to get dead, but Easy can’t stay away from the woman he considers the love of his life.

Just as he did in the previous book, Mosley has recreated a rich and vivid world of the black community in post-war L.A. and then populated it with a variety of characters for Easy to interact with. The theme in this one is betrayal with Easy having to spy on a man he comes to like and respect as well as his guilt about his feelings for Mouse’s wife.

The one sour note in this one is Easy’s man-ho tendencies. Despite carrying on with a woman he claims to have deep feelings for, Easy casually beds several other women over the course of the book and never once shows the slightest bit of guilt or remorse over any of them. Maybe Mosley was trying to illustrate the different standards that applied with regards to men and women in days of yore, but it makes Easy appear like kind of a heartless bastard.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Aha....I was the first like!


message 2: by Stephen (new)

Stephen "Man-ho"...nice


Kemper Stephanie wrote: "Aha....I was the first like!"

Sadly, I just ran out of prizes for first place...


Kemper Stephen wrote: ""Man-ho"...nice"

I wasn't sure if was reading an Easy Rawlins mystery or a James Bond spy story for a while there....


message 5: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Kemper wrote: "Stephanie wrote: "Aha....I was the first like!"

Sadly, I just ran out of prizes for first place..."


Damn the luck.


James Thane This was a really good series; I wish Mosley had written more of them.


Kemper James wrote: "This was a really good series; I wish Mosley had written more of them."

The Socrates Fortlow ones were probably my faves by him.


James Thane I liked the Fortlow ones as well, but I thought the settings--social, economic and racial--that served as the backdrop for the Rawlins series as it progressed through time were really great.


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