Easy Rawlins has been working for two years as a supervising custodian in Sojourner Truth Junior High School when he finds alluring math teacher Idabell Turner in her classroom much too early one morning for anything but trouble. Armed only with a wild story about how her husband, Holland Gasteau, has threatened to kill her dog, she's got Easy (Black Betty, 1994, etc.) in her arms within minutes, and his carefully constructed life in a shambles. By the end of the day, the Watts police will discover the corpses of both Holland and his twin brother Roman, and they'll be measuring Easy, who's already been accused of stealing from the school, for the rap. Instead of coming clean to the cops about his involvement with Ida, Easy--who knows that the crooked ways he got his job and adopted his children, Jesus and Feather, won't stand up to official scrutiny--decides to go back to the streets he had hoped he'd left behind. Knowing that most of any investigation will be under the table to start with--"You had to kill somebody white to get any kind of news splash in the sixties," he reflects--Easy, backed up by his unusually subdued gangster buddy Mouse, ties the Gasteaus into an elaborate drug-smuggling scheme, and also, by the end, into every unsolved crime of 1963. The fantastically intricate plot is only average for this celebrated series. But no living novelist beats Mosley's nervy sense of what thin ice the solidest-seeming characters build their lives upon, and how terrifying it is to feel the surface crack and shiver.