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Blonde Faithby Walter Mosley
Synopses & Reviews
Easy Rawlins, L.A.'s most reluctant detective, comes home one day to find Easter, the daughter of his friend Chrismas Black, left on his doorstep. Easy knows that this could only mean that the ex-marine Black is probably dead, or will be soon. Easter's appearance is only the beginning, as Easy is immersed in a sea of problems. The love of his life is marrying another man and his friend Mouse is wanted for the murder of a father of 12. As he's searching for a clue to Christmas Black's whereabouts, two suspicious MPs hire him to find his friend Black on behalf of the U.S. Army. Easy's investigation brings him to Faith Laneer, a blonde woman with a dark past. As Easy begins to put the pieces together, he realizes that Black's disappearance has its roots in Vietnam, and that Faith might be in a world of danger.
"Set in 1967, Mosley's brilliant 10th Easy Rawlins thriller finds the middle-aged Easy still fighting some of the same battles he fought in his first outing, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990), as an angry young WWII vet trying to make his home in postwar Los Angeles. His 'family' has grown from none to many over the years, and now Easy is dealing with the loss of the love of his life, Bonnie, and his decision to make her leave him. Despite Easy's vulnerability and anguish, he's a staunch friend and a fierce protector of those he loves. Easy's two most dangerous friends, Raymond 'Mouse' Alexander and Christmas Black, have both disappeared and both are being hunted. Easy must find them before those who want to destroy them do. Mosley knows his territory as intimately as a lover knows his beloved, and Easy's tortuous progression from man-child to man may have reached its climax in this searing and moving novel." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Last week I read two novels that are said to be the end of two admired American series. Walter Mosley's 'Blonde Faith' is the 10th of his novels about the African American private eye Easy Rawlins and, based on the final scene, it does look like curtains for Easy. Philip Roth has said that 'Exit Ghost,' the ninth of his Nathan Zuckerman novels, is the last we'll see of the fictional novelist whose... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review) career so resembles his own. If I am tentative in writing off Rawlins and Zuckerman, it is because, by and large, novelists are not to be trusted. Roth killed off Zuckerman's brother Henry in 'The Counterlife,' only to miraculously return him to life, and in a previous Rawlins novel, Easy's best friend, Raymond 'Mouse' Alexander, dies, only to be brought back by the voodoo of their friend Mama Jo. Between Roth's literary magic and Mama Jo's Louisiana magic, anything can happen. Philip Roth and Walter Mosley are not names often linked in literary circles, but their fiction has similarities. One writer has delved deeply into Jewish identity, the other into the lives of African Americans. Each protagonist in these two novels is deeply aggrieved: the 71-year-old Zuckerman by the indignities of advancing age, and the 47-year-old Rawlins by the loss of the woman he loves and by the racism that surrounds him in 1967 Los Angeles. Moreover, each novel is in part political. 'Exit Ghost' takes place on New York's Upper West Side at the time of George W. Bush's 2004 re-election, and virtually everyone we meet greets his victory with horror. Easy Rawlins, for his part, does not blame presidents for the racism he encounters. He accepts it as part of the American condition and sees himself as 'a citizen who had to distrust the police and the government, public opinion, and even the history taught in schools.' One cannot push the comparison too far. Roth has long been recognized as one of the world's leading novelists, and he is overdue to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Mosley is a talented entertainer who has had the courage to write popular novels that include powerful indictments of racial injustice. Each writer can give much pleasure in his own way, at least to readers who are receptive to their particular obsessions. The formal plot of 'Blonde Faith' concerns Easy's search for two of his friends, who are missing: Mouse Alexander and Christmas Black, the onetime Green Beret. (Christmas Black's adopted Vietnamese daughter is named Easter Dawn, and we will later encounter a sexy babe called Pretty Smart and an unhappy husband named Pericles Tarr; Mosley lets his imagination run wild on names.) Some killers show up early in the novel, looking for Black, and they return near the end to be dealt with, but they and the search for the missing men are not the focus of the book. Mosley is more interested in the relationships that define his hero's life: with his family, with friends and lovers, and with all the people who either help or hinder him as he moves though a dangerous world. First and foremost, Easy is agonized by the loss of his lover, Bonnie, who is about to marry another man. He and Bonnie have been separated for a year, and he blames himself for not begging her to return. He says he's spending 'every other minute trying not to think about Bonnie Shay and suicide.' But there are the children to consider: his adopted son, Jesus (also known as Juice), who has a girlfriend and an infant child; his 11-year-old adopted daughter, Feather; and Easter Dawn, who has come to live with them. Even as he suffers from the loss of Bonnie, Easy finds other women anxious to console him. He succumbs to two: a gorgeous white woman named Faith Laneer (the 'Blonde Faith' of the title) and an equally gorgeous black college student named Tourmaline Goss. Just as he has white and black lovers, Easy has friends and enemies in both races. The novel's chief villain is a black man, and Easy is befriended by at least two white men. One, a total stranger, helps him out of a tight spot, whereupon Easy is deeply ambivalent: 'I felt gratitude toward him while at the same time feeling that he was everything that stood in the way of my freedom, my manhood, and my people's ultimate deliverance.' He's also friendly with a white cop whose 'eyes were opened after the Watts riots and the horror we uncovered together.' For Easy, life is a series of horrors. He recalls his experiences in World War II: 'I once shot a German sniper who turned out to be a nine-year-old boy chained to his post by a teenage superior.' He sums up his philosophy as: 'Life wasn't good, but at least it kept moving forward.' There are too many characters in 'Blonde Faith' and too many flashbacks; probably, if this is the final Rawlins novel, Mosley wanted to bring them all back for one more moment on his crowded stage. Mosley dedicates the novel to the late playwright August Wilson, and each writer has created a grand panorama of black life in 20th-century America that is sympathetic but rarely sentimental. We'll miss Easy Rawlins, as we'll miss Roth's Zuckerman, but they'll live on in novels that are honest, angry, obsessive and not easily ignored." Reviewed by Patrick Anderson, whose e-mail address is mondaythrillers(at)aol.com, Washington Post Book World (Copyright 2006 Washington Post Book World Service/Washington Post Writers Group)
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"Whether Easy has any more tomorrows remains to be seen. Still, if this is the last we hear from him...then this captivating author has delivered a refined, bittersweet coda to his always-engrossing series." Boston Globe
"More than one man's journey, Mosley's Easy Rawlins series is a chronicle of the shifting landscape of race relations from the 1940s to the 1960s and is destined to become part of the American — and not just African American — conscience. Highly recommended." Library Journal
"Whatever the outcome, and whether or not we see Easy again, Mosley has created a flesh-and-blood man who transcends the page and walks forever in our imaginations." Minneapolis Star Tribune
In this tenth supercharged novel in Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins series, L.A.'s most reluctant detective finds himself immersed in a sea of problems — and in a world of danger.
Easy Rawlins comes home from work, and finds more trouble on his doorstep in a day than most men encounter in a lifetime.
A friend has left his daughter at Easy's house without so much as a note. Clearly this friend, Christmas Black, a veteran of
Easy's closest friend, the man known as Mouse, has disappeared too--and his wife tells Easy that he is wanted for murder. Mouse has been a thorn in the police's side for so long that Easy is convinced that this time they will kill him as soon as they find him.
Worst of all, Easy's longtime lover tells him that she plans to marry another man. In a world of hurt, Easy strikes out on his own to try to find one friend, save another, and save himself from the pain that is driving him out of his mind. On his path he meets drug dealers, corrupt officials, every manner of criminal and con--and a woman named Faith who may hold the key to more than one life.
In his tenth Easy Rawlins novel,
About the Author
Walter Mosley is the author of the Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones mysteries and numerous other works of fiction and nonfiction. He was born in Los Angeles and lives in New York. He has won the Anisfield-Wolf prize and numerous other honors, and in 2006 he was invited to deliver the Alain Leroy Locke lectures at Harvard.
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