Earlier this year I mentioned that this year will be my "year of Michael Crichton"... now I might change that to my "year of Walter Mosley". Damn this book was good! I'm of those readers who don't have to read a "series" in order to enjoy it. I love reading about one of my favorite literary characters (Easy) and his extremely colorful life. I love reading how diverse circumstances helped formed him into the man he is. I started reading the Easy Rawlins "series" about five years (or so) and I started when his relationship with Bonita has been going on for a while and Jesus wasn't mute. THAT one threw me, but like I said, I didn't read this "series" in order.
White Butterfly is a classic Easy Rawlins novel with that perfect Walter Mosley touch all over the place. To call Easy a ghetto Renaissance man would not be a stretch. He seems to know everyone, everyone seems to know him, knows the right questions to ask, has best friends that would frighten Hitler, and has a soul that is as real as heat on a sidewalk. I think that is why I love reading about Easy so much. His soul. There isn't anything extraordinary about him really until you start to understand him. He's an ordinary man with a... original soul. In another time Easy might have led crowds in Birmingham. In another time Easy might have taught Plato. In another time Easy might have written a play for Shakespeare. In another time Easy might have written a prologue for W.E.B. Dubois. But in this time, in this place, in this book he's just a man. A man trying to find the killer or killers of young women.
Unfortunately, then like today, nobody cares if a Black woman is killed but the moment a white lady meets her maker all hell breaks loose. Easy is pretty much forced to take on this case to find out who is raping, brutalizing, and killing young women around L.A. The corrupt L.A.P.D. blackmails Easy to help them and then "fails" to give him the important information. In classic, unique Easy fashion he finds out what he needs to know and finds out a number of things he DOESN'T want to know. Intertwined within this story is also a story about family, a man's broken heart, a man's black soul, corrupt government looking out for us, how a woman sees her man, how this man's family sees him, and the continual test of a tested friendship.
What's the quote: "the more things change, the more they stay the same". That adage could not be truer within the pages of this novel. You'll shake your head over the dimwits in the L.A.P.D. and the practices they still use to this day even though they don't work. You'll recognize the struggle of a Black man and his family in the streets of L.A., you'll see that the need to survive back then is the same and the WAY you survive is just the same. Walter Mosley is a true living legend and his work is absolutely mesmerizing.