I must have been good in 2012 because my Christmas stocking was filled to its brim with my favourite things – novels and books. In fact, there were surprises in store! A genre never yet sampled – crime/fiction – had me intrigued. Would I enjoy mystery fiction? And in particular the gritty nature of a crime novel set in 1967 Los Angeles, repleat with prostitutes, murder, hard liquor, private investigators and racial tension?
Blonde Faith is smoothly told mystery fiction that is driven by the raw emotional content of its African American private eye, Ezekiel (Easy) Rawlins. With its reading (and the nine other preceeding Easy Rawlins novels) comes a lesson in black culture, as well as racial issues that are so hard wired in LA’s DNA that they form subtext. Easy’s anger and protest against injustice is but one counternarrative in a complex weave of subplots which are equally as absorbing. What is even more fascinating is Easy’s emotional volatility after losing his long term lover, Bonnie Shay, to another man.
Blonde Faith, wherein Easy Rawlins composes a case fertile with beautiful women who wish to seduce him and crazed men ready to put him in his grave, is precisely written. Compact dialogue sparkles and author Walter Mosley’s scene-setting is pure skill. You see, this Easy Rawlins mystery appears to come off so effortlessly what with its grand panorama of black life in 20th-century America sympathetically drawn for a backdrop.
Take it up if you are searching for a novel which is honest, angry and obsessive. I thank Santa’s little helper, my friend Darine Williams, for popping Easy Rawlins into my stocking and into my cerebrum.