Customer Reviews


33 Reviews
5 star:
 (14)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A window into a very different world
One of the great things about fiction is that not only do you get the fun of plot and characters, sometimes you really can learn something. This book really opened the eyes of both my husband and I about the world of 1950's Watts and the whole red-baiting McCarthyism scene. Pretty scary stuff but a good thing for two white boomers.
EZ Rawlins continues to grown as...
Published on November 14, 2000 by Carol Peterson Hennekens

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars OK READ
Just ok as a listen. The storyline, unlike Mr. Mosely's later works in this series seems more contrived and predictable. It's good to read this series in order if possible so you know the history of the characters and see how they grow. I highly recommend that which I didn't do, but still enjoy them in the audio format.
Published on June 5, 2012 by Cynthia W. Swain


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A window into a very different world, November 14, 2000
By 
Carol Peterson Hennekens (Colorado Springs, CO United States) - See all my reviews
One of the great things about fiction is that not only do you get the fun of plot and characters, sometimes you really can learn something. This book really opened the eyes of both my husband and I about the world of 1950's Watts and the whole red-baiting McCarthyism scene. Pretty scary stuff but a good thing for two white boomers.
EZ Rawlins continues to grown as a character. Clay's narration on the unaudited tape is terrific. The side characters are pretty interesting. The plot is solid and has a dandy twist at the end. Still, what lingers with me is the scenes of black life - the churches, the bars, EZ's wisdom on concealing his wealth.
A good read if you like mysteries and/or are interested in a look at African-American culture from a point of view other than the Oprah books.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Political/Racial Nexus, July 10, 2011
By 
J. Smallridge (Kansas City, MO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Red Death: Featuring an Original Easy Rawlins Short Story "Silver Lining" (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) (Paperback)
This is one of the best Easy Rawlins books. Mosley does a terrific job of inserting a compelling mystery into the complicated world of 1950s America. The racial and political (communism) worlds of the time lent themselves to intriguing mysteries, and this book is a great example of why.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars There's much to enjoy and ponder..., March 15, 2000
Watts-1953 and everything's easy for Ezekiel Porterhouse "Easy" Rawlins. His real estate investments are doing well, he has good friends and finally has access to the woman of his dreams [downside: she's the estranged wife of his best friend!] Things become not so easy very quickly though as our protagonist attracts the attention of a zealous IRS agent, becomes a reluctant undercover agent for the FBI, loses one of his best and long time friends and finds himself a possible suspect in several murders. To clear himself and make peace with his inner world, he must find the killer[s].
Mosely guides his audience through various characters, locations and situations. What appeals to me about his writing, aside from the fluid use of language and imagery and the creation of believable, albeit complex characters, is his ability to distill and articulate certain thoughts as they existed in the minds black people in America in the 50's [if not today!]. Mosely writes about who and what he knows, just as Gresham knows the law and creates settings and situations based on his particular knowledge, so too Mosely. A Red Death is solid, colorful and entertaining storytelling. Take it, "Easy!"
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional novel, July 1, 2001
This review is from: A Red Death (Hardcover)
I'm not quite sure if this novel qualifies entirely as a mystery novel because there are so many layers that permeate the book, envelop the senses and relate to the reader about another world that sits on the fringes of everyday African-American reality. There is within thsi book something that can only be compared to the U.S. discovering a Nazi secret decoding book. There is a cadence, a language, a knowledge that is carried within Africanist people, thrugh the neighborhoods, the folks that live in them that is apparent here. That's very, very hard to translate adequately on to paper, to reveal that code, bare it to the light of publication and yet in many ways still keep it private. Easy Rawlins is more complicated than simply being a good man. He's a bit of a tortured man, wanting his best friends woman and child as his own, risking death to be with them and then still remaining loyal to his insane friend Mouse and telling him where they are. Problem #1. Problem #2 Another insane man, an IRS man who is after Easy for not paying his taxes and who challenges Easy as at face value, the color of his skin not realizing that Easy will kill him, wants to kill him and is only stopped by a meeting with Problem #3---an insane FBI agent who wants Eays to infiltrate a Baptyist church to root out communists. Of course Easy knows that communism is the scapegoat for the ol' okey-doke but he's in a terrible spot and getting more and more desperate. Usually half way through a book you can see where it's going, who has to die, who the killer is, even why the killer did something but Mosley turns this around into something that chugs the mystery along but makes it secondary to whatever is goign on in Easy's life. Every thing has a freenzy, a desperation in Easy's life---love, sex, money but he's trapped by what color he is and where he's comfortable. I read this book in a night and felt a nice comfort in its' embrace, its' soft language and hard people. People who drift in and out of the story, some mattering, some not but all the same all of them are watching Easy, some with love, most not. I don't know if this can be seen as the best book from a series and I don't even know if a series can be seen from these books---they stand on their own but shoudl be read one right after the other. I'm jumping all over the Easy map now but the one thing I can say is that I met Mr. Mosley, I wa swalking with a friend and he wa sstanding by a tree in the Village, and right before we got close enough to speak with shared a glance, a look that communicated so much, as much as Easy does in and more about what it is to be an African-American man simply being, how trouble gonna come for you and your choices are face it, run, kill it or be killed. Not too many books teach aabout manhood, African-American manhood so deftly. Buy the book, send it to a friend, not all of them will get it but then tell them that this is why African-American strangers nod, say hello to each other---we all know the code.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars "I walked and cursed and loaded all my pistols", July 16, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Red Death: Featuring an Original Easy Rawlins Short Story "Silver Lining" (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) (Paperback)
Easy Rawlins is killing-mad. He's likely to go to jail and lose all his property. He's being prosecuted by the IRS for back taxes, and his only hope of getting out of this mess is to do some snooping for the FBI.

At this point in his career, Easy owns three apartment buildings, bought with stolen money that fell into his lap in an earlier book. But he hides his wealth and pretends to be the janitor. A black entrepreneur in LA in 1953 can't do business quite like a white man.

While Easy helps the FBI get the goods on suspected Reds (or pretends to), he keeps stumbling upon corpses. Naturally the cops find that suspicious. If Easy doesn't go to jail for tax fraud, he'll go for murder. The only way out of this mess is to find the killer himself.

The bewildering complications of the plot form a nice backdrop for nerve-racking fight scenes, amusing love scenes and spectacular drinking bouts. Betrayal between friends and lovers abounds, but most of it is forgiven by the time Easy ties up all the loose ends of his multiple investigations.

Easy's best friend Mouse shows up just when needed. With his short fuse and his taste for blood, Mouse is an uneasy friend for Easy, but he comes in handy when things get desperate.

I'm reading the Easy Rawlins books in order, and liking them more every time. The melodious prose and wry humor give deep pleasure. And the moral ambiguities Easy has to deal with invite our compassion, not just for blacks, but for the human predicament. Easy reflects, to his dismay, "I was on everybody's side but my own." That's precisely what makes him a hero.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mosley Has Got It., August 11, 2000
By A Customer
I was pleasantly surprised with this book. Mosley has a capacity to distill the hero's internal conflict without it coming off like he's a sissy. He puts into words what Hammett and Chandler leave for you to surmise about the stress the main character's going through.
The story itself is very clever. You don't really see it coming and it unfolds pretty well with enough foreshadowing to make the outcome credible. The backdrop of red-baiting L.A. in the '50s is excellent. All around a good story.
I only have two knocks on this book. First, the gratuitous use of bad language takes the dignity of the book down a notch or two. I understand that Mosley is not your father's mystery writer. So I understand the cussing in the dialogue. But it's evident in the narration too. Good writers know how to get the point across without needlessly going blue. Just think of the difference between "The Thong Song" and "You Send Me." They both evoke the same feeling. But you'd play the latter over the former and feel good about yourself.
The second criticism is this: Mosley, try as he might, doesn't describe the setting sufficiently well to put the reader in the mind of 1950's L.A. He's terrific when describing the state of racial relations, but Mosley doesn't give enough scenery for the reader to feel like he's back in time.
Enjoy this very good book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A fully human detective, October 13, 2010
This review is from: A Red Death: Featuring an Original Easy Rawlins Short Story "Silver Lining" (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) (Paperback)
A Red Death was my first introduction to Easy Rawlins, who is such a relief from the one dimensional, macho, emotionless male detectives who are typical in this genre. In fact I was exclusively reading mysteries with female detectives before I came across Mosley's work. For me watching realistic characters get themselves into predicaments - and use their personal strengths to extricate themselves - is half the fun of reading a good mystery. And you definitely get that with Mosley's detective stories. Rawlins is full of flaws, foibles, conflicting emotions and insecurities.

I also found the scenarios in the book true-to-life - the need for African Americans to conceal from their friends when they come into money (by posing as the janitor when they own the building) - and the widespread tendency of the police to send informants into gang-ridden areas because they are afraid to go themselves.

Mouse, Rawlins' sidekick, is also priceless. A man with a heart of gold, but with a temper and a tendency to see things in black and white - a deadly combination in someone so big and powerful.

The historical setting, during the 1950s McCarthy era in Los Angeles, adds greatly to the book's interest.

By Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall, author of THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT: MEMOIR OF AN AMERICAN REFUGEE.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A Red Death, March 5, 2009
This review is from: A Red Death: Featuring an Original Easy Rawlins Short Story "Silver Lining" (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) (Paperback)
Easy Rawlins is a rarity - a self-employed, middle-income black man in 1950's Los Angeles. The role is a difficult one to maintain, particularly when the federal government gets wise to Rawlins' shortcuts to wealth. Facing crushing tax liability and/or prison, Rawlins agrees to help in the government's attempts to suppress communist worker's groups. The only thing is - Rawlins is starting to become a believer and people start dying in his vicinity.

A Red Death is a well-paced, noirish detective mystery with a setting both natural and utterly unique in the current field of mystery novels. While not the "new thing" that Devil in a Blue Dress was, I found this novel more satisfying. The story is complete, the characters are well-formed and believable. And perhaps most strikingly, there are elements of this novel that bear importance beyond its pages. That is, this book provides authentic thinking material and a perspective on an important topic that the reader may not have considered. A fine read in what appears likely to be an excellent series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine color-coordinated mystery, December 30, 2007
By 
David Bonesteel (Fresno, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: A Red Death (Paperback)
Some years after the events of "Devil in a Blue Dress," Easy Rawlins's real estate investments are doing quite well. Unfortunately, he hasn't been paying taxes on them, which gets him involved with a government espionage investigation and a nasty tax man. At the same time, Easy's old flame shows up with her son, having left her husband Mouse, who happens to be Easy's friend and a sociopathic killer.

Walter Mosley has written another fine mystery. Its setting, the black culture of 1950s Los Angeles, is a unique setting and makes for an interesting companion piece to Ellroy's LA Quartet. Easy's milieu is just as fascinating as the puzzle he must unravel. Once again, Mouse pulls Easy's fat out of the fire; I'm starting to wonder if this happens in every book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel to Devil in a blue dress, July 17, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Devil in a blue dress was a fabulous read, full of atmosphere and beautiful historical details, Red Death is no different though not as compelling overall as its predecessor it was witty and packed with great lines and some truly brilliant moments. Easy Rawlins is a great character as always, however unlike Devil the supporting players are not vividly drawn and some are basically interchangeable. Mouse is always a fun presence but is under used in this book and seemed to serve simply as a dues ex machina, conveniently showing up whenever Easy needs him most.
Like devil in a blue dress I felt it could have been even longer than it was, how often can a reader say that about any book? I throughly recommend A Red Death to fans of the mystery genre.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

A Red Death: Featuring an Original Easy Rawlins Short Story "Silver Lining" (Easy Rawlins Mysteries)
$19.99 $15.97
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.