Book Review…‘Little Green’ is classic “Easy” Rawlins mystery

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For awhile there, you thought you were gonna die.

Your head hurt. Your body ached, and your stomach was acting like a fresh-caught fish—but that didn’t matter much. Bills still needed paying and business needed attending. There was family to care for, work to do.

Yes, you should’ve stayed horizontal but you came back from the dead—and so did Easy Rawlins. In the new novel “Little Green” by Walter Mosley, Easy’s recent demise never gave him but a moments’ rest.

His vision was blurred. His thoughts, more so.

Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins was having strange dreams of death, but that was no surprise: some two months before, after losing the woman he loved, he got drunk and lost control of his car, landing in brush as the vehicle went into the California ocean.

He wasn’t dead—but he should’ve been and that was the only thing that made sense. He hurt all over and his head was muddled, but immediately after Easy came out of his semi-coma, his friend Mouse asked for a favor.

Nineteen-year-old Evander Noon was missing, and his mother wanted him home. Mouse wanted the boy home, too, but he wouldn’t give Easy a reason. He wouldn’t say why he called Evander “Little Green,” either.

Evander Noon wasn’t hard to find; in fact, Easy had to rescue him from a group of drug dealers who beat the boy while asking where the money was. Once free, Evander couldn’t recall much—he’d been on acid-tripping for five days—but when his mind got loose, he remembered plenty about that money: there was lots of it, stuffed in a blood-soaked bag.

But how did a wet-behind-the-ears teenager end up with over $200,000 of bloody cash without knowing where it came from? And how did Easy’s friend, Jackson Blue, end up in a similarly odd (but expensive) bit of trouble?  Driving a borrowed red Barracuda, hopped up on Mama Jo’s Gator Blood, feeling like a young bull, Easy Rawlins would find out…or die trying.

That noise you hear?  That’s a sigh of relief from legions of formerly-concerned fans, afraid they’d never read a new Easy Rawlins mystery again. Fortunately, author Walter Mosley dashed their needless worries against the California surf.

Set in 1967, “Little Green” is classic Easy, with underworld violence, sophisticated crime, and men who efficiently take care of business—all with a noir feel, like a Black Sam Spade. This is the kind of book where men wear fedoras and speak quiet philosophy, where women don’t yet realize their own strength, where Civil Rights are still brand-new, and Black folks are rarely friends with White ones. Yep, I loved it.

Because it’s been six years since the last Easy Rawlins novel, I recommend that fans brush up some on his story; you’ll get up to speed quick enough. If you’re new to the series, grab the last couple novels and you’ll be fine.

(“Little Green” by Walter Mosley, c.2013, Doubleday, $25.95/$30 Canada, 293 pages.)

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