Editorial Reviews. portal7.info Review. Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins has few illusions about the world--at least not about the world of a young black veteran in . portal7.info: Devil in a Blue Dress (): Walter Mosley, Michael Boatman: Books. This jaunty crime novel, set in L.A. in , introduces Ezekiel ``Easy'' Rawlins, a recently laid-off mechanic who is young, black and--but for the need to meet the.
|Language:||English, Spanish, French|
|Genre:||Health & Fitness|
|ePub File Size:||28.50 MB|
|PDF File Size:||9.48 MB|
|Distribution:||Free* [*Sign up for free]|
Devil in a Blue Dress is a hardboiled mystery novel by Walter Mosley, his first published book. The text centers on the main character, Ezekiel "Easy". Start by marking “Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins, #1)” as Want to Read: In Los Angeles of the late s, Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran, has just been fired from his job at a defense plant. Walter Mosley's first Easy Rawlins book is perhaps better than any Chandler I've. download Devil in a Blue Dress (Serpent's Tail Classics) Main by Walter Mosley, Val McDermid (ISBN: ) from site's Book Store. Everyday low.
The Japanese farmers grew artichokes, lettuce and strawberries along the sides of the road. That night the fields were dark under the slight moon and the air was chill but not cold. He has just been laid off from his job in an airplane factory for letting his independence show too openly toward his white boss. There is next month's mortgage to pay; some sort of hustle is needed to pick up a few hundred dollars fast. A menacing, heavy-set white man dressed all in white, looking and sounding something like Sidney Greenstreet in ''The Maltese Falcon,'' approaches him in a black bar with an assignment: to find a stunning, year-old blond woman, who has been seen in the company of blacks in jazz clubs, for an unnamed client. Easy takes on the job out of desperation, assured that no harm will befall her and that he will stay reasonably within the law. Others are also looking for Daphne Monet, which may or may not be her real name, who is pictured in an identifying black-and-white retouched photograph with blue eyes.
Easy recalls that Junior nearly killed him in a brawl years before in Houston, but Mouse intervened. This talk of Mouse sends Easy reminiscing about his history with the unhinged and murderous man.
Easy also asks nonchalantly about Daphne, referring to her as "Delia or Dahlia or something. Dupree tells Easy that Benny wants Easy back. Easy agrees to come by on Friday. The friends drink bourbon until Dupree passes out, and Easy and Coretta drag him back to her house.
There, Coretta seduces Easy and they have passionate sex while Dupree sleeps. Coretta tells Dupree that she spent time with Daphne. She also tells Easy who Daphne's boyfriend is.
Easy returns home in the morning to find a letter from Mouse, transcribed by a woman named Lucinda because Mouse is illiterate. In it, he says that he is thinking about moving to Los Angeles. Getting a letter from Mouse makes Easy hide in the closet out of instinct. He thinks back to the last time he saw Mouse, when Mouse killed his stepfather, Daddy Reese and blamed the murder on a man named Clifton.
Easy decides that he is too satisfied with his life as a homeowner to return to a life of violence. He falls asleep after drinking a bottle of vodka. Albright awakens him with a call and sets up a meeting at the Santa Monica pier. Easy is uncomfortable as he waits for Mr. Albright in mostly-white Santa Monica; indeed, a group of teenage boys begin to harass him.
Albright arrives and threatens to kill the kids,even holding one on his knees at gunpoint. After Albright lets them go, Easy tells Mr. Easy, meanwhile, keeps Daphne's picture for himself even though Mr. Albright asks for it back. The next morning, Easy drives to Champion, where Dupree asks him what he said to Coretta before her recent disappearance.
After calming Dupree down, Easy meets with his former boss, Benny. Benny reneges on his offer to restore Easy's job and Easy leaves Champion with a refreshing sense of freedom. Dupree is nowhere in sight as he pulls out of the driveway. Easy returns to find a black Ford parked outside his house.
Two police officers named Miller and Mason arrest Easy and drag him down to the police station, where they interrogate him until after dark. As he walks home, a car pulls up beside him.
Inside, Easy meets the disgusting Matthew Teran -- an ex-mayoral candidate -- and his sex slave, a young Mexican boy. Teran pries to no avail for information about Daphne and Howard Green.
Easy then heads to John's Place. At John's Place, Hattie tells Easy that Coretta has been brutally murdered in the same fashion as Howard Green and that the police are interrogating Dupree.
Odell drives Easy home and advises him to leave town, but Easy is too proud of being a homeowner to do so. After a fitful sleep, Junior awakens Easy at three in the morning with a phone call, telling Easy that he saw Daphne with Frank Green at John's Place a week before.
Easy falls asleep again only to be awoken a second time with a call from Daphne Monet herself. In her French accent, Daphne begs Easy to come over and give her money for a cab. Easy finds Daphne with a battered suitcase, asking him to bring her to see her friend, Richard. They find Richard -- the same white man Easy spotted outside of John's Place -- dead, a butcher knife in his chest.
Daphne hurridly throws her suitcase into a pink Studebaker, speaking with a Southern rather than a French accent, and flees, though not before kissing Easy so hard that she chips his tooth. Easy arrives home to find that Mr.
Albright, Manny and Shariff have ransacked his home. Albright tries to intimidate Easy, but Easy keeps his cool. Albright tells Easy to see Mr. Baxter, giving him a card. Easy sends Mr. Albright to Richard's house and then sleeps all day. The next day, Easy dresses in his best suit and goes to see Mr. Baxter, the vice president of Lion Investments.
Easy convinces Baxter to let him see Mr. Carter, the president. Carter explains that he loves Daphne and wants her back. He tells Easy that she fled because someone was trying to use her to blackmail him.
Before leaving, she stole thirty thousand dollars from him. He offers Easy one thousand dollars to find Daphne. Easy accepts. After his meeting, Easy tries to track down Frank Green.
He finally finds Frank on a tip from Jackson Blue , who leads him to Abe 's liquor store, which is run by two brothers-in-law who survived the Holocaust together. Easy asks them where he can find bootleg bourbon, knowing that Frank is a bootlegger. Next, Easy visits Joppy's bar and accuses Joppy of giving Daphne his phone number. It turns out that Joppy, who is enamored of Daphne, thought he was doing Easy a favor by pretending he did not know Daphne.
Joppy says he knows who killed Richard McGee , but refuses to tell Easy. When Easy returns home, Frank Green ambushes him and pins him to the couch at knifepoint. Just when Easy seems done for, Mouse appears with a pistol and threatens to shoot Frank Green. He pistol-whips Frank, who escapes. Easy agrees to let Mouse help him as long as Mouse follows his instructions.
What is this job? Find some year-old blond knockout, Daphne Monet, who frequen Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a proud and unapologetic black man in s Los Angeles. Find some year-old blond knockout, Daphne Monet, who frequents jazz clubs and has been seen in the company of blacks, for an unnamed client.
Seems simple enough. But as Easy starts investigating and events unfold, we see the world through his eyes, where rich and powerful white men are dangerous and mysterious. Easy is not one drawn to violence.
Not so his childhood friend, Mouse. Easy isn't happy that his old friend showed up uninvited, but it turns out to be a good thing that he did. Despite his tendency to shoot first and ask questions later, Mouse is a likable character who can almost make you laugh while he's beating someone half to death. And with Mouse around, Easy doesn't have to get his hands dirty.
Easy Rawlins is a character we can root for. He's well-rounded, but flawed. He has doubts, insecurities, and even falls victim to his own heart from time to time. He didn't choose to be a private investigator—the looming threat of poverty is what keeps him going. But he's good at it. The plot moves along pretty quickly with all the tried and true red herrings, misdirections, dead ends, and desperate moments of classic mystery fiction.
View all 12 comments. Jun 28, Duane rated it really liked it Shelves: Unlike Marlowe, he had no training as a private-eye, no background at all. Out of work, he takes the job of finding someone, the beautiful woman in the blue dress, and his life is started on a new path. This novel was written in the s which surprised me. Mosley does a good job of capturing the feel of life in s Watts, the prejudice of white vs black, police vs black, the struggle, not to get ahead, just to get by.
The story, the mystery, was riveting but easy to follow. Easy Rawlins was a very likeable and believable character. Jan 15, Richard rated it it was amazing Shelves: This book is one of my favorite detective novels.
Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a young black WWII veteran who has lost his job and is eager to jump at an opportunity when a shady businessman hires him to locate a pretty white woman named Daphne Monet, who is known for gettin' her party on at black nightclubs.
This is not only one of the best debut detective novels, but also features what I think is one of the best literary characters, especially in the detective genre. I think that Easy is a wonderf This book is one of my favorite detective novels.
I think that Easy is a wonderful character and dissimilar to other noir detectives in a number of ways. He is a totally reluctant investigator. He doesn't have an office or a secretary, and proves to be great at the job because of his wits, his relationships, his awareness of race and being in touch with his community.
And you can actually believe why women are attracted to him. It's great witnessing the change in him as he uncovers secrets that he is unprepared for. I love how evocative the book is of 's inner city Los-Angeles and it's variety of characters, especially in the South Central area. It has a complicated, intriguing plot, and because of Walter Mosley's soulful and effortless prose, this mystery never got boring.
An awesome running start to a solid series that evolves in great ways. The series should definitely be read in order so you can enjoy Easy's personal and growth as he acquires new friends and family, but other standout novels in the series include A Little Yellow Dog , as well as the later novels like Little Scarlet , Cinnamon Kiss , and Blonde Faith. Jul 06, Megan Baxter rated it really liked it.
Devil in a Blue Dress is an excellent hard-boiled mystery. It is also a fascinating examination of race and masculinities in lates Los Angeles. That it manages to do both these things at the same time, seamlessly, is little short of breathtaking. The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.
In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook. View all 7 comments. I always knew that I would enjoy them once I got started. However, I admit that I was just a tiny bit nervous starting this one because I attempted to read Killing Johnny Fry early in and it was no bueno! I DNF'd that sucker and never looked back! It was Mosley's take on an erotic story and let me tell ya, it wasn't my cup of tea in any way shape or form.
Just no. Nuh uh. Naw, y'all! Devil in a Blued Dress on the other hand, is a perfect example of why Walter Mosley is such a respected and widely read author. Mosley skillfully injects social commentary into a murder mystery and makes the story about more than just who did the dead and why. Mosley cleanly and unflinchingly exposes his readers to what it means for Easy to be a black man in post World War II America, and it isn't a comfortable or easy existence.
The injustice, intolerance, and general inequity that Easy experiences almost daily just by being what he was born to be allows Mosley to make his reader just as uneasy as Easy is himself. Mosley inserts so many 'black truths and realities' so seamlessly that the world that Mosley exposes feels like an up close and personal look into someone's actual life.
I went into Devil in a Blue Dress thinking that I would get a really well written and entertaining mystery and that's about it. I knew that Easy Rawlins is a beloved character and that the entire series is well loved and widely read, but I was not expecting Mosley to deliver such rich and complicated characters that would get me excited to see just how deep Mosley is going to dig in future books.
The whole cast of characters in Devil in a Blue Dress are well fleshed out, even the ones that are revolting. I was surprised that I found myself needing to mark conversations and other sections because they stood out so clearly to me. I thought that I was just going to be entertained, not prodded to think about 'real' issues. What I loved the most about reading this book is the way that Mosley taps you on the shoulder in different scenes and basically says "You seeing this crap?
Better late than never, and because of being so late to the game I now have the pleasure of being able to read through thirteen more Easy Rawlins books without having to wait for new installments! Where you can find me: MonlatReader Instagram: Monica Reeds View all 15 comments. I had to get it on interlibrary loan.
I have been reading rave reviews of Mosley's Easy Rawlins series for years. This one won the Shamus award for best first PI novel. Easy is a black war veteran in Los Angeles. He just lost his job and he needs money to pay his next mortgage payment.
Then a job offer comes his way. Dewitt Albright explai 4. Dewitt Albright explains that he can't go in to these bars and ask questions, because he is a white man. Easy realizes that Albright is a dangerous man, but he needs the money and takes the job. Easy does find her, but several people die and he is a suspect in the murders.
Think of a tough PI like Phillip Marlowe and mix in a racist police department for a great read. I finished it in 2 days. You can watch it on their website booktv. View 2 comments. A fast-paced noir novel that takes place in L.
It had a twisty plot that kept my guessing till the end. It revolves around Easy Rawling, An African-American WWII veteran who has recently lost his job and is desperate to pay the mortgage or he'll lose his house his sense of pride. So, when He's approached by a white man named DeWitt Albright who offer him a job with a quick cash, he eagerly accepts.
Albright want him to find a white young woman called Daphne Monet, who likes to hang A fast-paced noir novel that takes place in L. Albright want him to find a white young woman called Daphne Monet, who likes to hang out in the African-American neighborhood.
Easy starts asking people around and manages to locate the girl's whereabouts and to get his money. However, things get complicated when people he knows get killed and the police try to pin it on him. So he starts digging to find the killer and get out of this mess. The atmosphere throughout has a pervading sense of menace and violence. Luckily, Easy has a psychopathic, trigger-happy friend called Mouse who is a match for anyone on the streets. There are plenty of twists — too many in my view — as it rattles along to a fairly predictable conclusion.
I've dipped into this series once before - an not entirely satisfactory experience, in all honesty, but this book does feel like a decent introduction to this much heralded series, I wish I'd started here first. I liked Easy more this time, maybe because I now understand him a little better. I liked Mouse too and I'd really like to see how Mosley deals with his somewhat uneasy no pun intended relationship with our front man.
I will be back at some point to see what happens in book two. Oct 04, Alex rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Bingers of Luke Cage on Netflix. Walter Mosley has such a natural feel for the tropes of noir that I didn't realize he'd written it in , instead of when it's set. Here's your twisty plot, your dangerous woman, your breathless prose. The major difference is that it's all black. The law generally p "That girl is the devil," says Easy Rawlins of his femme fatale: The law generally plays an antagonistic role in noir, so it's kindof a natural fit for black people.
There's another black phenomenon that fits naturally with noir, but it's kindof a view spoiler [: Mosley cleverly works that in too. But Easy himself is terrific, as is his dangerous friend Mouse, and I liked this book a lot. I read it in a day; it's short and snappy. If you like noir, you won't be disappointed. She's a real humdinger and I like 'em like that. Shorty Long and William "Mickey" Stevenson The story of a man hired to find a mysterious woman is an old one and it takes a special writer to make it seem fresh and exciting.
I think Mosley has succeeded here with his first Easy Rawlins mystery. Rawlins is a richly-drawn, complex character. A WWII vet, he has been screwed around enough in the past to stay alert. H She's a real humdinger and I like 'em like that. His inner voice guides him, but sometimes fails to keep him out of trouble. Somewhere along the way I had developed the feeling that I wasn't going to outlive the adventure I was having.
Money bought everything.
Money paid the rent and fed the kitty. I got the idea, somehow, that if I got enough money then maybe I could download my own life back. Aside from an awkward sex scene and some implausible and embarrassing declarations of love, the novel flows beautifully. How can you resist lines like this? Mar 13, Becky rated it really liked it Shelves: It's so funny how things kind of fit together sometimes. I downloaded this audiobook during a BOGO sale from Audible just because I liked the reader's voice and it sounded like an entertaining story, but then I didn't think too much of it.
I then proceeded to listen to an audiobook about the way that slavery was continued though WWII just called something else. After finishing that, I decided to go for Devil in a Blue Dress, though I didn't really consciously think of how that would tie into w It's so funny how things kind of fit together sometimes.
After finishing that, I decided to go for Devil in a Blue Dress, though I didn't really consciously think of how that would tie into what I'd previously read. It just happened to happen that way that this book also dealt with racism and bigotry. I really enjoyed the story though, and it's one of those stories that lingers in my mind. Easy is such a vivid character to me, and I loved him. I loved his pride in his house, his pride in himself and his sense of morality and how that sometimes lapsed , and the way that he struggled with his place in society.
I also loved Mouse, and Easy and Mouse's relationship. Mouse is a force of nature, and he just has this way about him that communicates very clearly that this is not a man to be fucked with.
I loved seeing their relationship through Easy's eyes, and how uncomfortable he was with Mouse's unpredictability and volatility, but at the same time valuing and counting on this man's friendship and loyalty.
It was nuanced and intriguing, and I really want to see more of their relationship. It all just worked for me. What didn't work for me was how the women in the story were portrayed, and how they used sex to get what they want out of men, and life.
I guess with Daphne I can accept it, because sex and sexuality and manipulation all seem to be integral parts of her character - but with Coretta, it seemed gratuitous and unnecessary. But otherwise, I really enjoyed following along with Easy while he got sucked into this web of craziness and intrigue and murder, and I'm definitely interested in continuing on with the series. It seems like there's quite a lot going on in Easy's little piece of L.
Ahhhh hmmmm well. I read this book, insofar that the pages were turned but if I am honest nothing was really being absorbed. This was the reading equivalent of elevator music while my mind was busy solving the riddles of Blood Meridian. I must apologise to Walter Mosley because this book didn't get a fair shake of the dice really. It is also true I might not be the most appreciative reader of hardboiled LA noir.
The convoluted plots make my eyes glaze over and all the bad men begin to blur. I do Ahhhh hmmmm well. I do like the 40s vibe, Easy Rawlins is an interesting detective but this novel seemed very much the set-up novel for the series. Additionally, I was not convinced at all by the titular "Devil in a Blue Dress", there are some rather terrible "scenes of love" there at the end.
The best of noir. This book was Mosley's introduction of his character, Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. He is a black man who had been raised in Houston and he had joined the army to fight Nazis during the war. He spent much of it sitting behind a typewriter, but when he had the chance, he volunteered to go with Gen.
George Patton's Third Army into the heart of Europe. He fought his way through the rest of the war, including at the Battle of the Bulge, and returned home to Houston, but like many African-Americans in the South during that period, he found the atmosphere stifling and chose to move on. As we meet Easy, we find that many in his circle of acquaintances in LA are former Houstonians.
I felt an immediate empathy for Easy Rawlins because of the Houston connection. His descriptions of neighborhoods and streets were well-known to me.
No doubt they've changed in the last seventy years, but they are still there. Moreover, there was the Patton's Army connection. My father, too, was in the Third Army and I grew up listening to stories about the Battle of the Bulge and the other lesser known battles that he fought in. As a result, Rawlins seemed very familiar to me.
Easy has just been fired from his job at an aircraft factory when we meet him. His white boss thought the uppity black man was not showing him sufficient deference.
Without a source of income, Easy stands to lose the small house he is so proud of since he won't be able to pay the mortgage. I loved Mosley's description of that little house and lot, because it revealed so much of Easy's character. He takes pride in the order that he keeps in the house and the care that he gives the plantings around the house - the fruit trees, the perennials with their bright blooms, even the pot of African violets on the porch.
This is a man after my own heart. So, Easy has to come up with a way to earn some money fast. He goes for a drink in a friend's bar and in walks fate in the portly form of a white man dressed all in white. It seems that Easy's friend has paved the way for this man to offer him a job. The two talk and the man offers him a substantial amount of money to find a woman. She is a blonde named Daphne Monet and she has a real penchant for black jazz clubs and, incidentally, for black men.
And just like that Easy Rawlins begins his career as a private investigator. He soon finds himself knee deep in a web of lies and murder, harassed by the police and threatened by sociopathic villains. Easy is not a violent man and he feels himself a bit out of his depth and needing someone to watch his back.
He phones home, to Houston, and gets in touch with the girlfriend of one of his former running buddies, Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. He's not sure if Mouse will get the message, but just in time, he does turn up. Whereas Easy is a pacifist, Mouse does not shy from violence and he likes Easy well enough to be just the back-watcher he needs.
Just like those earlier noir novels, this one's plot winds and wriggles around like a snake in hot ashes. So many complications, so many interconnections, and so many lies. It soon becomes clear that virtually none of these characters, besides the protagonist himself, is to be trusted.
Mosley's writing is really excellent and truly did remind me of the best of the noir masters that I have read.
It makes me really happy to know that he has produced thirteen and counting more of these Easy Rawlins tales. And they are all just sitting there waiting for me to enjoy! View all 4 comments. What a pleasant surprise it was that, after a shaky first half this seems to be a reoccurring curse for first-time private-eye mystery writers across the decades , this novel revealed itself to be such an atmospheric and vital addition to what is unabashedly my favorite genre niche! Two of my favorite moments in Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely and the unfortunately fated video game masterpiece LA Noire particularly "The Black Caesar Mission" feature our detectives taking quick detours What a pleasant surprise it was that, after a shaky first half this seems to be a reoccurring curse for first-time private-eye mystery writers across the decades , this novel revealed itself to be such an atmospheric and vital addition to what is unabashedly my favorite genre niche!
Two of my favorite moments in Raymond Chandler's Farewell, My Lovely and the unfortunately fated video game masterpiece LA Noire particularly "The Black Caesar Mission" feature our detectives taking quick detours into African-American communities of LA during the first half of the 20th century, a world almost wholly alien to the glitz and moral decay of Hollywood. Neither of those works lingered long in their wholly "non-white" realms unlike Robert Crais's Free Fall , a well-meaning but cringe-worthy attempt at exploring South Central LA of the early 's , but the sense of otherness was clearly established.
What Mosley has done with his first Easy Rawlins outing is pull back the curtains on this racial divide and explore an "invisible" city. It is a well-imagined and immersive world revealed in clear, non-pretentious prose. Sure, there is a mystery involving a missing white woman and more importantly a missing suitcase packed with money, a knife-wielding hijacker, racist cops, a pedophile politician and at least two blithe psychopaths; but the real surprise is the effortless way Mosley lets the reader scratch at an understanding of a time and place that in turn helps to shed some understanding on a very real and still very relevant racial history that both damns the United States as much as it helps foster its redemption.
I must be in a good mood, so apologies for waxing elegiac for a minute there. Obviously this understanding is a very minor and fleeting thing; but as much of a flawed first novel as this one is, Mosley's approach to the familiar themes of a genre with a voice so refreshing is Jun 10, Carla Remy rated it really liked it. I appreciated that the main character is not in this first book of the series, anyway a detective. I love the suspense of mysteries, but I prefer stories about regular people, not professionals there are exceptions to this.
This was very good. There are also some uncomfortable themes scattered throughout. Money is also a recurrent theme, a prime motivator for many characters, and Easy falls prey to this lure as well.
Mosley does an effective job of making post-World War 2 Los Angeles come alive with realism and grittiness. We are pushed instantly into the first main conflict when Easy is given a seemingly straightforward task of finding the whereabouts of Daphne Monet.
However, the man who requests this, Mr. Albright, is shady as they come, and Easy soon learns that the task at hand is more complex—and dangerous—than Easy would have imagined. Deceit, violence, chaos, and murder ensue. There are times when he questions why he even got involved in the first place, but it seems as though once he is in, there is no other place to go.
The set up, and first half of the novel, was much more compelling to me than the second half, which seems to wander and become a bit convoluted. Easy is over his head in this deception game created by others, but he is quick to use his smarts and instincts to play the game as well.
I would be interested to pick up another in the series, just to see where the story goes from here. Raymond Chandler could probably be called the Grand Master of this style of genre fiction, his style and content leading the way for many pale imitators to follow. I think the true test for me is the dialogue and there were times when I was imagining Bogart as Marlowe reading the part of Easy; surely there can be no higher praise for this genre?
What Mosley does better is to add the extra layers to the narrative Raymond Chandler could probably be called the Grand Master of this style of genre fiction, his style and content leading the way for many pale imitators to follow.
What Mosley does better is to add the extra layers to the narrative, and I don't mean extra convoluted explanations; he has what Chandler couldn't really be expected to have, historical perspective.
The fact that this book is written from the mindset of a black man seems to be something that people get caught up with. It would be wrong to dismiss the uniqueness of that in this genre but I don't think that is what makes this special, it is the quality of writing and the authors knowledge of his era.
I saw the movie a while ago and didn't realise it was a book first but I don't recall any of the qualities of the book being present, which is a shame as there are plenty of these Rawlins books to produce great quality noir from. View all 3 comments. May 18, Sara rated it really liked it Shelves: I have no excuse for taking so long to read Walter Mosley.
If you have even a passing interest in mystery novels someone at some point in your life has told you to read him. Possibly one of the most prolific writers of quality out there he "writes everyday" and sometimes produces two novels a year and he's dabbled in everything from play writing to science fiction to erotica.
But he's perhaps best known for the "Easy Rawlins" mysteries the first of which is the very beautiful, haunting Devil i I have no excuse for taking so long to read Walter Mosley. But he's perhaps best known for the "Easy Rawlins" mysteries the first of which is the very beautiful, haunting Devil in a Blue Dress which was also turned into a film starring Denzel Washinton.
This book is gorgeous. It has a dark, sensual feel to it like the best classic noir movies. Its also a prime example of the journey being better than the destination. I confess to having no idea who's been murdered, why, or by whom and not really caring in the slightest.
As this is the first Easy novel there are so many characters being introduced about half of whom don't make it to the end I think you can be forgiven for losing the forest for the trees.