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Black and Blue and White All Over!,
This review is from: Little Scarlet (Hardcover)
Since the Easy Rawlins series began, I have been anxious for Mr. Mosley to take Easy through to the 1965 Watts riots. That event marked the equivalent of the Grand Canyon in changing race relations in the Los Angeles area, and I was sure that Mr. Mosley would have many wonderful observations to make about the events and their effects on those who lived through them.
As high as my expectations were, Mr. Mosley happily exceeded them. Even among bit characters, you will recognize the attitudes of people you have met or known -- including the hard core racist whose feelings are based on personal insecurity, the person who sees a dark face and is afraid, scavengers who take advantage of anyone who is vulnerable, timid people who are put into fear by any changes, cowards who look the other way if the person who is hurt is a powerless individual, professionals who feel responsible to do the right thing, those who reach out to those in need regardless of who they are, and those who feel bitter because of past wrongs and cannot release that bitterness . . . even if it chokes them literally to death. The book represents a symphony of racial and human attitudes and instincts that accurately represents the world of Los Angeles in 1965.
Little Scarlet is really two stories in one novel. The more important story is about what it means to be a good person. The less important one concerns a murder mystery about a woman who is found dead during the riots. What is most remarkable about the book is that Mr. Mosley is able to subsume the second story into the theme of the first story.
The most delicate aspect of the book though is to capture how everyone was changed by the riots. Mr. Mosley does that in many different and subtle ways that will delight anyone who enjoys a great storyteller telling an important tale with great skill. By the end of the story, you have hope that we can all be better to one another . . . because even the most cynical and calculating are beginning to address one another differently.
For long-time fans of the series, you will be delighted that Mr. Mosley has worked in some many of his primary characters in roles that build your understanding and enjoyment of each character.
Mr. Mosley long ago became much more than a detective novelist. Seeing him apply his remarkable talents in this genre again provides a great context for appreciating his continually improving work.
Reach out and understand!