Los Angeles, 1961. Kennedy is in the White House and King is marching down South. It's a new day for many blacks in America-but not for Easy Rawlins.
Easy's small real estate empire is in trouble and he is facing bankruptcy when Saul Lynx, an oily white private eye, offers him $200 to track down on Elizabeth Eady, a.k.a. "Black Betty." The sensuous Betty was a housekeeper for an immensely wealthy Beverly Hills family-but now has mysteriously disappeared.
Easy takes the job, but he also has to deal with his murderous sidekick Mouse, who's just been released from Chino prison. Mouse was sent up for manslaughter, and he wants Easy to help him find the ones who gave him up to the police.
Finding Betty seems a simple enough task, but nothing about this woman is as simple as it appears to be. Easy soon finds out her trail is paved with blood-and he might be the next victim of her deadly charms.
I love this book and Walter Mosley's style.
-interesting detective story
-philosopher and poet mixed with detective is crazy material (see quote below)
-cultural authenticity--South LA in 50's, 60's; black culture TX and other places
-page turner--anything might happen; well constructed plot
-unusual characters and beautiful character sketches
-too many characters; couldn't keep them in mind; many are from other Easy Rawlins books, so repeat readers are less confused, but I am too old to keep everything straight--that said, many of the characters are not essential to the story
Here is a quote to illustrate his unique philosophical-lyrical style:
"There are few things as beautiful as a glass bottle filled with deep amber whiskey. Liquor shines when the light hits it, reminiscent of precious things like jewels and gold. But whiskey is better than some lifeless bracelet or coronet. Whiskey is a living thing capable of any emotion that you are. It's love and deep laughter and brotherhood of the type that bonds nations together.
Whiskey is your friend when nobody else comes around. And whiskey is solace that holds you tighter than most lovers can.
I thought all that while looking at my sealed bottle. And I knew for a fact that it was all true.
True the way a lover's pillow talk is true. True the way a mother's dreams for her napping infant are true."
I would give it 4 stars. An excellent crime novel recommended by ex-president Clinton.
good read; very much enjoyed