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Six Easy Pieces: Easy Rawlins Stories Paperback – September 1, 2003

65 customer reviews
Book 8 of 11 in the Easy Rawlins Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries received a bonus when Washington Square recently reissued in trade paper the six novels that preceded the latest one, Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002). Each reprint contained an original short story featuring Easy. Now, those stories and a seventh never before published have been gathered together in a volume that's something of a patchwork but still vintage Mosley. In his mid-forties, with a makeshift but tight family and a respectable and responsible job, Easy no longer needs to depend on trading favors to earn a living. But these stories reflect a more restless and reckless man-one who finds himself being drawn to the street life he thought he had left behind. Energized and unsettled by rumors that the dangerous and unpredictable Raymond Alexander, better known as Mouse, might still be alive, Easy undertakes to determine the truth. That extended search also finds Easy undertaking a number of jobs that recall his forte of being a black man more capable than most of dealing with the volatile intersection of blacks and whites in Los Angeles. In short order he investigates arson, murder, a missing person and other crimes. The linked stories form an extended search not only for Mouse but also for answers as Easy confronts the familiar demons of mid-life crisis. Easy occupies center stage, surrounded by a stellar cast of both new and familiar characters, while the spirit of Mouse hovers enticingly nearby.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Easy Rawlins is 44 and working a steady job as head custodian at Sojourner Truth Junior High School; mourning the death of his friend Mouse; caring for his adopted children, Jesus and Feather; and pining for his live-in girlfriend, Bonnie. But this "guy who trades in favors"--really an unofficial detective who helps those who can't go to the police--isn't ready to live the quiet life. As he works a variety of cases involving theft, blackmail, and usually murder, the ghost of his violent alter ego Mouse seems to be flitting about the periphery--Is he really dead?--and Easy's sense of unease is compounded by deep insecurity in his relationship with the woman he loves. This collection of related short stories has an unusual lineage: all but the last, "Amber Gate," were first published in Washington Square Press reissues of all six classic Easy Rawlins mysteries this year (Six Easy Pieces picks up just after the time of 1996's A Little Yellow Dog). Collecting them so soon would feel more like a marketing ploy if they didn't work so well together; despite periodic recaps of the action-to-date, the book reads like an episodic novel. Mosley is as fine as ever, offering compelling commentary on black-white relations in 1964, writing in a style so simple that it deceives us into thinking writing great fiction is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. It's not, but turning these pages is. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743442547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743442541
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #476,707 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Walter Mosley is one of America's most celebrated and beloved writers. His books have won numerous awards and have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Mosley is the author of the acclaimed Easy Rawlins series of mysteries, including national bestsellers Cinnamon Kiss, Little Scarlet, and Bad Boy Brawly Brown; the Fearless Jones series, including Fearless Jones, Fear Itself, and Fear of the Dark; the novels Blue Light and RL's Dream; and two collections of stories featuring Socrates Fortlow, Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned, for which he received the Anisfield-Wolf Award, and Walkin' the Dog. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

41 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom VINE VOICE on January 13, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Easy Rawlins leads a complicated and complex life as a black quasi-detective in 1964 Los Angeles. Orphaned at eight years old, befriended by Raymond Alexander, known as Mouse and who is one of the most cold-blooded killing machines ever born, Easy grew up in Houston's Fifth Ward and has trouble staying out of the mean streets where he became a man. He's fought to change his life of violence, against himself and against others who constantly drag him back into that world where death is quick and harsh, and respect only comes with a stack of greenbacks or at the end of a gun. In SIX EASY PIECES, Easy actually takes on seven cases filled with death and mayhem, the kind of life he's always known, while striving to hold his personal life together and making certain none of that violence spills over onto the family he's struggled so hard to carve out of the tapestry of tragedy that he has never been far from. "Smoke" begins with a phone call that tells him Mouse, the friend whose death he believes he caused and whom he has mourned for the past year, is still alive. Bonnie Shay, the woman he has come to love and to trust, also has to leave the family for her stewardess job for a prolonged junket in Europe, leaving Easy restless until an arsonist strikes at Sojourner Truth Junior High School. As head custodian, Easy has to deal with the reports and the clean up at the school, but as a man of the streets whose best friend's death has left permanent guilt in him and whose woman has left, Easy strides into the shadows of the city after the man who started the fire. Easy follows up the lead he got regarding Mouse and ends up looking for a repentant prostitute then her killer in the church she attended in "Crimson Stain.Read more ›
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By K. Kimbrough on March 14, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I love me some Easy Rawlins! When Walter Mosley let loose another round with Easy I was there to pick up the pieces; Six Easy Pieces.
Six Easy Pieces is a book of seven different stories reminding fans of who Ezekiel Rawlins is (as if we had forgotten) and what he does that makes us love him so. Mosley shows us a forty-four year old man who over time has become a senior janitor at Sojourner Truth Junior High School, a property owner, the father of two, and the lover of one. Despite all of that, each story has a friend needing his help and in spite of himself Easy ends up in the middle of all the action.
Mr. Mosley moves Easy easily through the city of Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California. He is involved with a little bit of everyone doing a little bit of everything. In the story Smoke, Easy investigates arson at his school, in Crimson Stain he investigates the death of a prostitute who found religion, in Lavender he is chasing after a Black boy with his nose wide open behind a flirtatious rich White girl, and in Gray Eyed-Death his past comes bursting back on the scene with a vengeance. These are just four of the seven exciting stories.
Easy Rawlins fans will enjoy this book because Mosley gives you small pieces of Easy and his friends in well told stories and good pacing to keep you reading until the end. This is especially good for those who want to satisfy a small itch but have limited time to read a whole Easy Rawlins Mystery. Those who haven't read Easy Rawlins Mysteries before will get recaps to bring you up to speed but will probably find yourself needing to read the other books to get a complete picture. (And that is not a bad thing.) Walter Mosley does it again and I just want him to keep doing it over and over and over again.
APOOO BookClub
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bonita L. Davis on February 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Fans of the Easy Rawlins Series will be thrilled with this collection of seven short stories, six of which were culled from previous works and one that is original. This collection of short stories are unified by several common threads. First, we have Easy's attitude of grief and guilt over the death of his friend Mouse. Second, Easy's relationship with his girlfriend, Bonnie, is on the rocks. He isn't sure if he is the man for her. Third, we find Easy's deep concern over his adopted son, Jesus, who has dropped out of school. Add all of those elements together and you have a novella with intriguing possibilities. The short stories stand alone but taken as a whole the reader sees another side of Easy.
Although it was fun to re-read material published before, I had moments of disappointment with this volume. The constant repitition of facts that you already knew was an annoyance as you moved from story to story. In many cases the story ended to abruptly with you wondering how did Easy get from point A to point B so quickly? In truth I wished that this volume had been an entirely new collection of Easy stories and not just a compilation of older ones. Don't me get me wrong. The book is good but fans of Easy's deserve something new and fresh.
Readers who are unfamiliar with Easy will find great collection for them to whet their appetites for more of his adventures. Those of us who are oldtime fans will like the work for its collector's value and will yearn for something new from the author's pen.
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