three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
19-Nov-Dec-2005
user_rating: 
0

Easy Rawlins Mysteries

A-CinnamonKissIn the tenth installment of the Easy Rawlins Mystery series, Easy, now a P.I., lives with his beautiful wife, Bonnie, and his adopted children, Jesus and Feather. Then Feather contracts a rare life-threatening illness, which can only be treated at a Swiss clinic at a cost of $35,000. Easy will do anything to save his daughter—perhaps even go so far as to participate in armed robbery with his pal, Mouse. He also works on a missing-bonds-and-persons job that takes him from Los Angeles to San Francisco. As Easy falls in love with 1966’s Summer of Love, he tries to track down the lawyer who disappeared and his exotic assistant, Cinnamon.
Little, Brown. 320 pages. $24.95. ISBN: 0316073024

Entertainment Weekly 4 of 5 Stars
"Despite that overwrought setup, Mosley soon settles into his well-worn groove, vividly describing the changing times (Easy rolls through the hippiefied streets of 1966 San Francisco) while lingering on the effects of the past (Easy’s L.A. is still smarting from the 1965 Watts riots). . . . Cinnamon convincingly wraps a mystery within the larger context of history and race in Los Angeles." Gilbert Cruz

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 3.5 of 5 Stars
"In all his novels Mosley arranges plots that not only ask ‘whodunit?’ but also challenge conventional assumptions of right and wrong, good and evil. . . . Is saving the life of his beloved Feather justification for an armed robbery or for taking a job that covers up evidence of a crime?" Michael Helfand

South FL Sun-Sentinel 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Mosley illustrates how the anti-war protests and the culture of Haight Ashbury [were] evolving into a time when the country increased its attention to civil rights. . . . As Easy gets closer to solving the case, Mosley stops weaving in his themes of racism and tolerance into the plot and, instead, starts preaching." Oline H. Cogdill

Washington Post 3 of 5 Stars
"It’s a sugar high of a plot, written out in Mosley’s cool prose, which teeters on the edge of noir parody. . . . All the latent humiliations of racism are still here: the clammy atmosphere of suspicion, an economy that won’t give blacks enough traction to get ahead." Ron Charles

Critical Summary

The Easy Rawlins novels comment sharply on America in the second half of the twentieth century. Though Easy is African-American, both black and white readers have embraced the novels. Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), the first in the series, chronicled post-World War II America; last year’s Little Scarlet depicted the Watts Riots. This time, the Summer of Love, antiwar protests, and the nation’s growing awareness of civil rights form a convincing backdrop for Easy’s divided America. Some parts of the novel are uncharacteristically melodramatic and unsophisticated; The Washington Post even called Cinnamon an extraneous character. Minor complaints, really. Notes Entertainment Weekly: "Mosley could probably take an elderly Easy into the Rodney King era with no problem at all."

Recently Reviewed

Little Scarlet An Easy Rawlins Mystery | Walter Mosley (2004): 4 of 5 Stars Sept/Oct 2004. Unfolding against the backdrop of the 1965 Watts Riots in Los Angeles, Easy has to find the killer of a black woman nicknamed Little Scarlet. Was the murder committed by a white man escaping a rioting mob?