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Bad Boy Brawly Brown marks the much-anticipated latest installment in the popular Easy Rawlins series. This novel has our favorite leading man doing a favor for a friend, only to find himself in danger.
Easy's friend, John, believes his stepson is running with a bad crowd. He wants John to ask around, locate Brawly, and bring him home to his worried mother. A simple enough task, unless you're a black man living on the lawful fringe of the criminal element in racially-charged 1964 Los Angeles.
Brawly is linked to a political group known tied to urban revolution by way of violence. Rawlins literally trips over a couple of murders connected to the group. To search out Brawly, Easy must establish trust in suspicious residents with an "us against them" mentality. One false move could be met with bullet, but Easy is determined to help a mother find her angry, lost son.
Bad Boy Brawly Brown follows Easy Rawlins during his search. While trying to find one lost son, Rawlins must keep his own adopted children on the straight path. The ghost of Easy's best friend makes several appearances for guidance and a reminder of regret at the time of death.
It's helpful to be familiar with earlier installments of the popular Walter Mosley series, but it's not necessary. The author provides brief sketches of Easy's past in this novel.
Walter Mosley expertly sets the tone and pace in this engaging story. The author takes readers back to Compton during the months leading to the Watts riots. Racial tensions were at an all-time high. Mosley captures the restlessness of the community, setting Rawlins right in the middle of the turmoil. This enhances the suspense while providing an indirect commentary on the social and political issues of mid-60's Compton.
Bad Boy Brawly Brown is a welcome addition to the world of crime fiction. If you haven't met him yet, I suggest you get to know the man they call Easy. With this series, the author transports readers to another time and place where law and justice were handled differently. Read one book by Walter Mosley and you'll be back for more.