Author of the Month
Name: Walter Mosley
First Novel: Devil In A Blue Dress
Most Recent Book: Little Green
'I was spoiled by Mosley’s compelling narrative, his prose as crisp as the crease on Easy Rawlins’ pants. '
Easy wakes up from a two-month-long coma after drunkenly driving his car over a cliff in 2007's ‘Blonde Faith’. Everyone — even Mosley — thought he was dead. His family were making arrangements for his funeral. But not so fast: Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is back.
True to form, the tough WWII veteran survives a car crash and a coma, and soon his murderous sidekick Mouse has him cruising the streets of L.A., in all their psychedelic 1967 glory, to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip.
Exhausted, but fuelled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, brewed by the conjure woman Mama Jo, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem. Still wondering if he's alive and if he is, then why, Easy staggers from his sick bed on unsteady legs and sets off on a quest through the hippie landscape of 1967 Los Angeles. But is he looking for Little Green or himself?
In my view, a new novel from Walter Mosley is something to take note of, but a new novel from Walter Mosley starring Easy Rawlins is an event. Seriously, if you are a fan of the genre and you haven’t read any of these books, you need to start questioning your credentials.
Opening the first page of ‘Little Green’, I had a sudden moment of fear. What if the great man had lost his mojo? But I needn’t have worried, from the first line, I was back in 1960’s L.A. and relaxing into the world of a storytelling master.
I was spoiled by Mosley’s compelling narrative, his prose as crisp as the crease on Easy Rawlins’ pants. He also serves up a wonderful cast of characters you can’t help but hang your heart on.
Mosley is never more effective than when he has some social ills to work with and here he conjures an atmospheric historical setting, capturing effortlessly the peacenik, beatnik free-love vibe of L.A. While he was in a coma, the world changed and Easy learns to adapt quickly, presenting a fascinating viewpoint of one of the landmark eras of the modern age. His trawl through a hippie commune in search of the missing boy is surely a description as evocative as any memoir of the time.
Walter Mosley is the real deal. Whatever “transcends genre” really means, Mosley is all over it. He’s a writer you can approach from any perspective. You want a fast pace and a strong plot? He’s your man. Looking for all of that and layers of insight and a light touch examination of the human condition? Ditto.
I once heard a famous author saying that readers are loyal to character and Rawlins himself is surely a character who elicits such an emotion. He’s a father to ‘found’ children, a self-educated black man, traversing a time of great upheaval. A knight from another time, (his charger: a red Plymouth Barracuda), giving voice to the frightened and voiceless and righting wrongs no-one else cares about. Such a character inspires loyalty – and a readership. Don’t be one of the ones who miss out.
Reviewed by: M.M.