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Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins Mysteries (Paperback)) Paperback – September 17, 2002
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Library Binding edition.
Top Customer Reviews
More than that, though, this is simply a good, fun read .
The setting is Los Angeles in the 1940s, probably the most fruitful noir time and place there is. During those boom years of post-war expansion, a man could make a good living and even buy a place of his own.
That's all that Easy Rawlins wants. When he's laid-off, though, he can't make his mortgage. He's going to lose his house and he'd rather do almost anything than that. He finds, though, that he has to do more than he bargained for.
When a mysterious white man offers him $100 to find a missing white woman, it seems simple enough. Nothing, of course, is ever as it seems. Rawlins quickly finds himself in trouble and there is no easy way out. It takes a hardness that he tries to hide for him to come out alive.
For a first novel, this book is very solid with a lot of personality. Mosley captures a people and culture that we don't get to read much about. Easy is a good, fresh character; one of the best new entries to the mystery scene in a while.
This book is recommended to everyone who enjoys a good hard-boiled mystery, especially fans of Raymond Chandler, Dashiel Hammett, and Ross Macdonald
The plot sounds typical, but Mosley's writing is anything but. Mosley paints a clear and atmospheric picture of racial segregation in post-war L.A., but that picture is not overexposed. Easy not only has to endure the dangers of finding this girl, he must do it in a hostile background where white policemen and higher-ups look for any type of crime that they might pin on him. The story of the transplanted man from the south living on the west coast is not unfamiliar, but making him a black man facing prejudice on every side makes the story more alive and the plot more tension-filled. Again, this is not done in a heavy-handed way, but with a subtle touch that makes you want to turn the pages.
Mosley is very much at home with the hard-boiled style of crime noir and it shows on every page. This is not a Hammett or Chandler re-hash. This is a fresh, lively, exciting mystery from a very fine writer. If you haven't experienced Mosley and Easy Rawlins, pick up the Blue Dress and try it on for size.
"Devil in a Blue Dress" is a pleasant, brisk read. Walter Mosley paints a colorful and intriguing picture of post-War Los Angeles. And his prose effectively expresses the fear and temptation that constantly compete for Easy Rollins' psyche. Easy Rollins is a working class detective who is lent a certain romanticism and distinction by the time and place in which the novel is set. This combination of qualities make Easy an ideal detective novel protagonist who will appeal to a wide array of readers. The character of Daphne Monet is less than believable, I'm afraid. But it is more essential that she be sexy and mysterious than that she be believed, so it is not a serious flaw. "Devil in a Blue Dress" has a little of everything -a likable hero, period ambiance, hard-boiled dialogue, sex, violence, mystery- without losing its focus. It won't appeal to fans of "cozies ", but most mystery buffs will find something enjoyable in it.