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Six Easy Pieces [Hardcover]

5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Jan 2003
Walter Mosley's bestselling and award-winning novels -- from "Gone Fishin'" to "Devil in a Blue Dress," named one of the "100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century" by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association -- have endeared him to legions of readers from a U.S. president to everyday people who can't get enough of Easy Rawlins. Now from the bestselling and award-winning writer comes "Six Easy Pieces. "The beloved Ezekiel Rawlins now has a steady job as senior head custodian of Sojourner Truth High School, a nice house with a garden, a loving woman, and children. He counts the blessings of leading a law-abiding life, but is "nowhere near happy." Easy mourns the loss of his best friend, Mouse. Though Easy tries to leave the street life behind, he still finds himself trading favors and investigating cases of arson, murder, and missing people. People who can't depend on the law to solve their problems seek out Easy.A bomb is set in the high school where Easy works. A man's daughter runs off with his employee. A beautiful woman turns up dead and the man who loved her is wrongly accused. Easy is the man people turn to in search of justice and retribution. He even becomes party to a killing that the police might call murder.Six of the seven stories in "Six Easy Pieces" were published in reissued Washington Square Press editions of the Easy Rawlins mysteries "Gone Fishin', Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, Black Betty," and "A Little Yellow Dog." A seventh, "Amber Gate," is newly published here, making this new Walter Mosley classic a must-have for all fans of great fiction.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Atria Books Hardcover Printing edition (6 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743442520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743442527
  • Product Dimensions: 22.3 x 14.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,684,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"USA Today" [A] taut collection....Mosley returns to his first and perhaps finest creation: Easy Rawlins. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Walter Mosley is the author of over twenty critically acclaimed books and his work has been translated into twenty-one languages. His popular mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins began with Devil in a Blue Dress in 1990, which was later made into a film starring Denzel Washington. Born and raised in Los Angeles, he now lives in New York. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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EASY," SHE SAID, and then the phone rang. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 8 Aug 2003
By A Customer
Being a fan of the Easy Rawlins series I was unsure how this book would work. This marks a departure from the previous books, in the sense that this is a collection of short stories that document six different Easy Rawlins adventures. I am not a big fan of short stories, and gave up reading Mosley's FutureWorld (his previous attempt at writing a collect of short stories)
However, in this book it worked well, because although these adventures are capable of standing alone, they are also interwoven with Easy's search to find the truth about his friend Mouse's fate. This adds greatly to the momentum of the book, which was so good I finished it within a couple of days.
If you are a fan, then this book is well worth a read. The only downside is the price, the rrp is 12 and in my opinion this is a bit steep for a paperback
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Scintillating Servings of Suspense 28 Jan 2007
Like all of us, Easy Rawlins is the summation of where he was born, how he has lived, whom he loves, what he wants to become, and why he acts. In the case of Easy (born Ezekiel), Louisiana spawned a poor boy who fought his way of the roughest part of Houston at the side of his unafraid and murderous friend, Raymond Alexander (Mouse) via World War II, and then came to Watts where the only people he could trust were other African Americans. Hiding his good side, Easy did favors for people . . . and righted many wrongs in the process. This often placed him in a vulnerable position between the police who wanted to use him . . . and evil-doers who wanted to eliminate him. In the process, Easy emerged as middle-aged with two children he has rescued (Jesus who dreamily builds a sail boat and young Feather who goes to school), a little yellow dog, Frenchie, and Bonnie, a stewardess he has invited into their lives. Unknown to most, he's become a property owner building a future for his kids. In public, he heads the custodial staff at Sojourner Truth Junior High School. In private, he will right wrongs that others will walk past.

These seven short stories capture Easy in transition while he tries to settle down at 44 in 1964. The first six stories were added to the reprints of Gone Fishin', Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, Black Betty, and A Little Yellow Dog in 2002. The seventh story is new with this volume.

These stories deeply explore Easy's relationship with his friend, Mouse, Easy's family, his work, and a number of his friends. As background, Easy had asked Mouse to help him a year earlier. That help had led to Mouse being shot and carried off with no pulse by his wife, EttaMae.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six Easy Pieces 30 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A good read; great for those already Mosley fans, or as an introduction to his work though, be aware, if you began with 'The Man in my Basement', then Easy is a very different guy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read. 3 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I love the music in Mosley's writings. And I really like the creation of Easy. One of my favourite mystery characters. And this six stories - gems.
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Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  52 reviews
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Down in the Mean Streets 13 Jan 2003
By Mel Odom - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Easy Rawlins leads a complicated and complex life as a black quasi-detective in 1964 Los Angeles. Orphaned at eight years old, befriended by Raymond Alexander, known as Mouse and who is one of the most cold-blooded killing machines ever born, Easy grew up in Houston's Fifth Ward and has trouble staying out of the mean streets where he became a man. He's fought to change his life of violence, against himself and against others who constantly drag him back into that world where death is quick and harsh, and respect only comes with a stack of greenbacks or at the end of a gun. In SIX EASY PIECES, Easy actually takes on seven cases filled with death and mayhem, the kind of life he's always known, while striving to hold his personal life together and making certain none of that violence spills over onto the family he's struggled so hard to carve out of the tapestry of tragedy that he has never been far from. "Smoke" begins with a phone call that tells him Mouse, the friend whose death he believes he caused and whom he has mourned for the past year, is still alive. Bonnie Shay, the woman he has come to love and to trust, also has to leave the family for her stewardess job for a prolonged junket in Europe, leaving Easy restless until an arsonist strikes at Sojourner Truth Junior High School. As head custodian, Easy has to deal with the reports and the clean up at the school, but as a man of the streets whose best friend's death has left permanent guilt in him and whose woman has left, Easy strides into the shadows of the city after the man who started the fire. Easy follows up the lead he got regarding Mouse and ends up looking for a repentant prostitute then her killer in the church she attended in "Crimson Stain." In "Silver Lining" Easy revisits some old friends who are being blackmailed by a kidnapping, bringing Easy into direct line of fire from an old enemy. Bonnie's loyalty to Easy comes into question during her return from Europe in "Lavender" when flowers arrive at Easy's home before his woman does. EttaMae Harris, Mouse's woman, calls in a favor from Easy while he's dealing with his own pain over Bonnie, asking him to help a young man that has fallen for a young woman hell-bent on death and destruction. Saul Lynx, a private detective Easy has worked with in the past, pulls Easy into a case to clear a man accused of murder in "Gator Green." Family again becomes the central issue in "Gray-Eyed Death" as more of Easy's past surfaces, mixing in an armored car robbery and a frame. In "Amber Gate," Easy goes looking for the murderer of a young prostitute to clear a friend of a friend, and makes a major turning point in his life.
Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series has spawned seven novels to date. Six of those novels, DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, A RED DEATH, WHITE BUTTERFLY, BROWN BETTY, LITTLE YELLOW DOG, and BAD BOY BRAWLY BROWN are primarily straight mystery-suspense novels. GONE FISHIN' is an exploration of Easy's early days and the violence that gave birth to the man he started becoming. Mosley has also written two volumes of short stories about ex-con Socrates Fortlow, ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED, ALWAYS OUTGUNNED and WALKIN' THE DOG. The author also writes science fiction in FUTURELAND and BLUE LIGHT. FEARLESS JONES introduced another detective duo that so far has only shown up in one novel. RL'S DREAM was a straight novel about the last days of a bluesman. Mosley has also authored nonfiction that includes WORKIN' ON THE CHAIN GANG and BLACK GENIUS.
Fans of Easy Rawlins will fall right into this collection of novellas because the resonance of Easy's life and the tapestry of his person history-including his failings as well as his successes-holds true. Long-time readers will get the feeling he or she is revisiting a well-known friend in the middle of several crisis points that those friends have seen coming. If this book is a reader's first exposure to Easy Rawlins and the violent world of pre-Civil Rights Los Angeles of 1964, the introduction to the man, his family, his views of life (and yes, there is more than one) and the violent and mean streets he walks down comes in simple gulps that never impede the action or the emotions. Easy Rawlins is a real person in these pages, full of hope, fear, love and hate. He holds the burning brand of self-knowledge and knowledge of the world, while at the same time being confused by twists and turns he can almost see coming, and being hurt by the unfairness of life that he knows is there but can never truly accept. Mosley's execution of the stories is flawless, pulling the readers into Easy's world and life, into his struggles with outsiders as well as himself. The dialogue is sharp and true, of the street, of years of growing and learning and accepting, of the stations in life that men and women of all colors sometimes get trapped in, and of the trade-off they make with hope and dreams just to find a means to survive.
SIX EASY PIECES is an excellent volume of crime fiction, of period noir, and of a man who is still yet growing and changing, still building himself while at the same time being broken and battered. New readers who enjoy the strong male characters of Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke will find another author and voice to love and respect in these pages, and old readers will be visiting with a true friend they can trust and enjoy.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 7 Easy cases in 6 Easy Pieces 15 Mar 2003
By K. Kimbrough - Published on Amazon.com
I love me some Easy Rawlins! When Walter Mosley let loose another round with Easy I was there to pick up the pieces; Six Easy Pieces.
Six Easy Pieces is a book of seven different stories reminding fans of who Ezekiel Rawlins is (as if we had forgotten) and what he does that makes us love him so. Mosley shows us a forty-four year old man who over time has become a senior janitor at Sojourner Truth Junior High School, a property owner, the father of two, and the lover of one. Despite all of that, each story has a friend needing his help and in spite of himself Easy ends up in the middle of all the action.
Mr. Mosley moves Easy easily through the city of Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California. He is involved with a little bit of everyone doing a little bit of everything. In the story Smoke, Easy investigates arson at his school, in Crimson Stain he investigates the death of a prostitute who found religion, in Lavender he is chasing after a Black boy with his nose wide open behind a flirtatious rich White girl, and in Gray Eyed-Death his past comes bursting back on the scene with a vengeance. These are just four of the seven exciting stories.
Easy Rawlins fans will enjoy this book because Mosley gives you small pieces of Easy and his friends in well told stories and good pacing to keep you reading until the end. This is especially good for those who want to satisfy a small itch but have limited time to read a whole Easy Rawlins Mystery. Those who haven't read Easy Rawlins Mysteries before will get recaps to bring you up to speed but will probably find yourself needing to read the other books to get a complete picture. (And that is not a bad thing.) Walter Mosley does it again and I just want him to keep doing it over and over and over again.
APOOO BookClub
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars OVER EASY 17 Feb 2003
By Bonita L. Davis - Published on Amazon.com
Fans of the Easy Rawlins Series will be thrilled with this collection of seven short stories, six of which were culled from previous works and one that is original. This collection of short stories are unified by several common threads. First, we have Easy's attitude of grief and guilt over the death of his friend Mouse. Second, Easy's relationship with his girlfriend, Bonnie, is on the rocks. He isn't sure if he is the man for her. Third, we find Easy's deep concern over his adopted son, Jesus, who has dropped out of school. Add all of those elements together and you have a novella with intriguing possibilities. The short stories stand alone but taken as a whole the reader sees another side of Easy.
Although it was fun to re-read material published before, I had moments of disappointment with this volume. The constant repitition of facts that you already knew was an annoyance as you moved from story to story. In many cases the story ended to abruptly with you wondering how did Easy get from point A to point B so quickly? In truth I wished that this volume had been an entirely new collection of Easy stories and not just a compilation of older ones. Don't me get me wrong. The book is good but fans of Easy's deserve something new and fresh.
Readers who are unfamiliar with Easy will find great collection for them to whet their appetites for more of his adventures. Those of us who are oldtime fans will like the work for its collector's value and will yearn for something new from the author's pen.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing, enlightening, engaging!! 21 July 2003
By "donaldbuckland" - Published on Amazon.com
The best thing about this book is the prose. The author has a fantastic style. This a magical book that adresses racism, betrayal, and dignity. It keeps you glued to your seat reading well into the night as you follow the protagonist, Easy Rawlins, as he discovers himself after a midlife crisis. Mosley has done it again! And I look forward to his next book. I hugely recommend this book, all of his books. And if you're looking for a few other great titles, look no further than these, Buckland's Hot List: most creative, The Butterfly: A Fable (Singh); most engaging, The Alchemist (Coelho); most interesting, Life of Pi (Martel); most enlightening, 9-11 (Chomsky); most thrilling, The Lovely Bones: A Novel (Sebold); and finally, the most creative, engaging, interesting, enlightening and thrilling book of all, The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery). These are the books I'd recommend to my family, friends, students, and wife. There are many more, trust me, but these are the first that come to mind (for having left an impact slight or proud as it may be). If you have any questions, queries, or comments, or maybe even a title you think I should add to my list, please feel free to e-mail me. I'm always open to a good recommendation. Thanks for reading my brief but hopefully helpful review. Happy reading. Donald S. Buckland.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Easy Pieces 27 Jan 2003
By J Scott Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
This collection includes one new and six previously published longish short stories featuring one of Walter Mosley's most fascinating characters, Easy Rawlins, a man who grew up more or less on his own and who has had his difficulties with the other side of the law at least partly because of his childhood friend, Mouse, who is a killer. He is, like Mosley's other character, Socrates Fortlow, trying to keep his life together in spite of the odds.
He functions as a sort of unofficial detective who gets involved in the troubles of people who might not otherwise go to the police with their problems, and as such he serves a real purpose in this gritty urban scene. Of course, Easy has been the protagonist in seven Mosley novels by now. These short stories fill in some of the gaps in his life history and as such contain background and psychological material that I think would be important for readers of the novels.
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