The many fans of Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins are sure to be
satisfied with this tenth novel in the series. From the opening pages of
Blonde Faith, continual problems assail Easy and those he loves, but
this "unwilling detective" maintains steady focus as he searches for answers
in the neighborhoods of south-central Los Angeles. The interconnected story arcs
evolve and intertwine against a 1967 backdrop of civil injustice, Vietnam
fallout, and rampant racism. Forceful personalities and frequent plot twists
combine easily in Mosley’s smooth narrative about the inner and outer trials
of this melancholic, reluctant hero. Love, longing, loneliness, and broken
memories are as much a part of his life as criminal investigations, gunshot
trajectories, and speeding automobiles. The author’s ear for dialogue and
vernacular is very good, and the flowing prose style makes reading a
For readers who may not be familiar with earlier books by this prolific and awarded writer, be assured that Blonde Faith can also be enjoyed as a standalone mystery. It's true that at times, because of Easy’s wide social ties and past successful cases, a new reader can feel like the only guest at a party who doesn’t already know everybody there. However, the narrator resolves this potential pitfall by repeatedly providing history, back stories, and context whenever Easy’s old friends, enemies, and acquaintances appear.
In keeping with the genre of "private eye" protagonists, Ezekiel is intuitive, intelligent, and omniscient – sometimes to the level of fantasy, like an all-knowing, middle-aged black superman. He is a tough street killer with a sensitive heart; a man of learning haunted by his choices; a recovering alcoholic, and a ready lover with absolutely no need for Viagra. The innate complexity and roiling conflicts in his work are a key part of the interest, and make the strong, brooding Easy Rawlins an admirable and memorable character.
This review was originally published in November 2007, and has been updated for the August 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.
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