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Blonde Faith ? An Easy Rawlins Mystery
Little, Brown and Company 2007
307 pages Hardcover
Walter Mosley’s Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins is the intellectual child of Camus and Hammett. Blonde Faith is a great read for all but the last chapter which could have been left out entirely without affecting the novel in the least. Mosley’s detective inhabits the world of Watts in the late 1960’s at some unspecified time after the 65 Watts riot. Easy is a big, black detective in a world that does not admire anyone with those credentials.
Blonde Faith is filled with characters who have unusual names which, while initially distracting, don’t really add anything to the work and don’t take away from it so it’s a bit of a wash as to why Mosley bothers with absurd names: Christmas Black, Easter Dawn, Chevette (I could understand Chevelle from Hebrew but Chevette is the name of a car that wasn’t even put into production until 1975), Feather (betraying the gravitas of the child), Pretty Smart, Pericles Tarr (ha, ha Tarr as a homonym for Tyre) and Raymond “Mouse” Alexander (if you can’t decipher that one then you don’t deserve to know). A rose by any other name….
Mosley has a lot of fun and seems to expect his audience to come along for the ride and if you get into the spirit of it then you are in for a great story which is worthy of more than one reading. Blonde Faith stands as not just a great story investigating the death of Pericles Tarr, the suspected murderer Ray Alexander and the sudden disappearance of Christmas Black but also as a fictional application of the principles in Camus’ The Rebel. Whether you like or dislike Easy Rawlins you have to respect that he stands for himself and his friends. One character in the novel (Jackson Blue) sums it up best when he states that Easy Rawlins is the most dangerous man he knows not because he will take your life but because he can steal you soul.
The investigation(s) in Blonde Faith touch on historical incidents which have been forgotten by the majority of the population. It touches on social realities which still exist though are better hidden than ever before and it tells a great story – just skip Chapter 51.