The 1967 Watts riots seem to have slowed down time for Easy Rawlins, who returns only a few weeks after his apparent death at the end of Blonde Faith (2007).
That climactic car crash didn’t kill Easy, but it left him weak as a kitten and prone to disturbing dreams of past and future. Only repeated drafts of Gator’s Blood, the home brew cooked up by healer Mama Jo, allow Easy to escape the ministrations of martinet nurse Antigone Fowler and take to the streets again. As usual, his mission is straightforward—to find Evander Noon, whose mother, Timbale, is a friend of Easy’s dangerous best bud Mouse Alexander—but his path is winding. His information takes him to Lula Success’ brothel, where Evander dallied before leaving in the company of Maurice Potter. Coco, a prostitute born Helen Ray, leads Easy to Evander, who’s been kidnapped by three gangsters and tied to a tree, and the pair, acting swiftly, free Evander and bring him home to his mother. But the conflicts that made those thugs snatch Evander obviously haven’t been resolved by his rescue. In order to protect the wayward young man, Easy will have to find the links between insurance giant Proxy Nine, oil company TexOk, and the likes of sneak thief Charles Rumor and all-around nasty operator Haman Rose. Mosley is much more interested in bringing these characters and the social forces they represent to life than in connecting the dots. The result works better as anthropology than mystery, with barely a teaspoon of plot to a monstrous deal of aphorism
Whether it’s the lingering effects of his near-fatal accident or the infusions of Gator’s Blood, Easy sounds less like Watts’ signature private eye than one of the visionaries from Mosley’s Crosstown to Oblivion novellas (Stepping Stone/The Love Machine, 2013, etc.).