~~Moved from GR~~
by Walter Mosley
After dealing with the fallout from an external crisis--the LA riots--in the last books, Easy Rawlins must now face another more personal catastrophe: his adopted daughter Feather is extremely ill. The only way to save her may be to send her to an extremely expensive clinic abroad, and Easy is willing to do anything--up to and including murder--to get her the treatment she needs. Desperately searching for a case, he is faced with two alternatives: one, to accept a case from a pompous and mysterious "super-detective" and locate a missing man and the papers he ostensibly stole; two, to join his crooked friend Mouse on a bank heist. However, Easy quickly discovers that his first alternative may in fact lead him to even murkier waters than the second.
Mosley is one of the best noir writers out there, and the Easy Rawlins series exemplifies his skill; Rawlins' wry narration deftly captures the racial tensions of 60s LA. Yet every so often, I end up infuriated with Rawlins, and unfortunately, this is one of those books. My issue comes down to Easy's personality: he is astute in his analysis of the world and the circumstances he lives in, but in my opinion, he is almost entirely lacking in self-insight. He tends to rush to judgment, but he rarely evaluates whether his decisions or his opinions were justified. This makes him a rounded, real, character, but it's a trait I have issues with, and one reason I may prefer LT (first book:The Long Fall) to Easy. This book, with its focus on Easy's relationship with his girlfriend Bonnie, highlights this defect.
If you're hooked on the Rawlins series and don't mind the certain areas where he lacks introspection, I think this is an interesting addition to the series. For other readers, it may not be the best example of Mosley's talents, as it lacks the driving and coherent plot that characterizes other books in the series. It also lacks much of the little domestic moments that I tend to love about these books. However, if you're a fan of Mouse, he's a major player in this story, and Jackson Blue also makes an appearance. Mosley, as always, does a wonderful job in capturing the atmosphere of the city and its time period. One of my favorite moments in the books is Easy's bewildered interactions with hippies... that by itself made the book a worthwhile read.