Watts, 1953. Easy Rawlins, fresh from his Edgar-nominated debut (Devil in a Blue Dress), reluctantly agrees to spy on Communist union-organizer Chaim Wenzler for Red-baiting FBI agent Darryl Craxton in order to get IRS agent Reginald Lawrence--hot on his trail for back taxes on his off-the-books apartment buildings--off his back. But nobody (as Easy knows all too well) ever gets off a black man's back; and long before Poinsettia Jackson, one of Easy's hard-case tenants, is found hanging from a strap in the apartment she's stopped paying for and before Chaim Wenzler's work leads Easy to the African Migration movement, the First African Church, and Reverend Towne and Tania Lee are shot in fiagrante delicto--inevitably to be followed by Wenzler himself--Easy realizes that the two federal men are playing him off against each other. Who pulled the trigger on Wenzler and the others? As in Devil in a Blue Dress, Mosley's plot is so tangled it hardly matters. But the laconic poetry of Easy's voice floats through a central situation much more original and compelling than before. This time Mosley earns the acclaim his first novel received.