Bad Boy Brawly Brown: An Easy Rawlins Mystery Hardcover – Jul 2 2002
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Racial tensions and America's civil rights movement have previously figured into Walter Mosley's series about sometimes-sleuth Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. But Bad Boy Brawly Brown turns what had been a background element into compelling surface tension. The year is 1964, and though Easy seems settled into honest work as a Los Angeles custodian, he's having other problems--notably, his adopted son's wish to quit school and lingering remorse over the death (in A Little Yellow Dog) of his homicidal crony, Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. Yet he remains willing to do "favors" for folks in need. So, when Alva Torres comes to him, worried that her son, Brawly Brown, will get into trouble running with black revolutionaries, Easy agrees to find the young man and "somehow ... get him back home." His first day on the job, however, Rawlins stumbles across Alva's ex-husband--murdered--and he's soon dodging police, trying to connect a black activist's demise to a weapons cache, and exposing years of betrayal that have made Brawly an ideal pawn in disastrous plans.
Mosley's portrayal of L.A.'s mid-20th-century racial divide is far from simplistic, with winners and sinners on both sides. He also does a better-than-usual job here of plot pacing, with less need to rush a solution at the end. But it is Easy Rawlins's evolution that's most intriguing in Brawly Brown. A man determined to curb his violent and distrustful tendencies, Easy finds himself, at 44, having finally come to peace with his life, just when the peace around him is at such tremendous risk. --J. Kingston Pierce
From Publishers Weekly
Finally. Five years after the last taste (1997's Gone Fishin') and six years after the last full meal (1996's A Little Yellow Dog), Easy Rawlins makes a very welcome return. Now 44 years old, Easy no longer makes a living from doing people "favors." Now he owns a house, works for the Board of Education in Los Angeles and is father to a teenage son, Jesus, and a young daughter, Feather. It's 1964, and while some things have changed, the process is slow and uncertain. Too slow for some, including Brawly Brown, the son of Alva, the girlfriend of Easy's friend, John. Hotheaded Brawly has become involved with a group calling itself the Urban Revolutionary Party, and John and Alva fear the group's unspoken aim is violence and revenge. Friendship and loyalty being still sacred to Easy, he agrees, as a favor, to try to locate and talk to Brawly. As usual, Easy's path is not easy. When a body surfaces, Easy finds himself in the middle of a vicious puzzle where lives are cheap and death the easiest solution. As always, Mosley illuminates time and place with a precision few writers can match whatever genre they choose. He also delivers a rousing good story and continues to captivate with characters readers have grown to love, including the now "dead" Mouse, who still plays an important role in Easy's chronicle.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Mr. Mosely brings us back to the past, the very recent past, where the black detective really had all the problems the white detective had, i.e. the bad guys would attempt to put him in harms way, plus the subjugation of the (for the most part) white police force.
So it would be a mistake for us to say that Mr. Mosely brings a "refreshing" view. Painful, perhaps. Unfortunate, certainly. But always very well written.
Here Ezekial Rawlins is asked by his friend, John, to help his girlfriend Alva's son stay out of the limelight or rather, the searchlights of the police department. Brawly has been influenced by a Black Group named the First Men. Whether they truly seek only the leverage and subsequent parity that equal education can bring (the 1960's in Los Angeles was only a few years after Brown vs. Board of Education) or as the police believe, they were but a front for gun running, bank robbery and revolution, is denied to us as it has been in the last 40 years.
However, Mosely doesn't pass judgment on this. Who's to say that in some arenas of social justice the end . . . But we're not asked to go there. We follow Easy, troubled by a violent past he cannot avoid, haunted by the sins of omission and commission, as the bodies turn up. Easy is a noble man who struggles, like Marlowe before him, Spenser and Cole, to maintain his own sense of integrity. Like some of the music of that time, "(you) who are on the road, must have a code, that you can live by.Read more ›
The result is Bad Boy Brawly Brown, a very good entry in the series, following Easy through the streets of 1964 Watts and Compton, as he searches for the son of a friend's girlfriend. The son is a big, strong, not-very-smart young man who's been taken in by the Black Power movement of the sixties, and it seems that there's trouble brewing. A few pages into the book, looking for the boy, Easy stumbles onto a dead body, and then finds himself fleeing the police. The book then follows Easy while he delves into the affairs of the First Men, a fictional group (I believe) that looks a bit like the Black Panthers, and crossing paths with gunrunners, women of easy virtue, old friends from Texas, thieves, and working people who inhabit the black neighborhoods of Los Angeles in 1964.
I enjoyed this book a great deal, and it's well worth the wait.
Despite a meandering and involved plot, it gains style points by once again allowing the protagonist to exert himself in a way that black men would want to emulate....and that is living a dignified life, where chivalry is not allowed to die, and where helping others who have limited resources get a chance to have problems solved and still have change left over for acceptance in the community! In this case, we find Easy lamenting over the possible demise of his friend and sidekick, Mouse (Raymond Alexander) while waiting for the next drama to unfold. It comes in the form of the all of his cases are determined: Helping a friend with a problem, reluctantly acquiescing, and finally giving in to the need to make things happen. I'm more than biased as I've long been a fan relative to the opening statement of this book review.
What keeps me turning pages is a realistic, believable, and compelling detective who's not adverse to using guile, wit, good and bad luck to take advantage of happenstance. To really understand Easy Rawlins, and see why the books are such Easy reads consider the modus operandi that has become a staple for Mosley: establishing rationale for the heroic while deftly manipulating and exposing a black community through the favors, fears, and friendships Easy trades on. Int this depiction it allows our hero to stand out as an icon underscoring the relevance of a proud, resourceful gumshoe used to getting results.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
It took me forever to get through this book. The only reason I stuck with it was because of the author's track record. Read morePublished on Feb. 2 2004 by c. m. miller, author Taxes Death & Trouble
What can you say-the return of one of my favorites street wise detectives. Easy Rawlins is a everyday, hardworking, street smart houstonian, who moved to L.A. Read morePublished on Jan. 25 2004 by montralatrice
I agree this was an exceptional work - I've read all of the Easy Rawlins mysteries - except for the ending. Read morePublished on Sept. 2 2003 by Southfield
Walter Mosley makes 5 stars again with this book, bringing Ezekiel (Easy) Rawlins and the memory of Mouse back to his fans. This was, as usual, a great read! Read morePublished on June 12 2003 by B. Carter-Cox
"Bad Boy" is a traditional Easy Rawlins mystery, taking place in the 60's. Frankly, I liked the earlier Rawlin's books cuz the character had more energy and had a more licentious... Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2003 by Charlie Watanbe
Easy is Back!
Brawley Brown is missing and Easy Rawlins is hired to find him. It seems so simple but if you know Easy like I know Easy, nothing is ever that simple. Read more
The mystery in "Bad Boy Brawly Brown" serves as a device through which the black perspectives of the 60's civil rights' movement are explored. Read morePublished on Oct. 14 2002 by FictionAddiction.NET
Mouse is not dead. In "Bad Boy Brawly Brown" Mouse's spirit pervades nearly every page, certainly every chapter and, ultimately, Mr. Read morePublished on Sept. 20 2002
... Mosley decides to write more about aethetics than about he actual mystery...I felt that the book was very very slow and very particular to details about items that looking... Read morePublished on Sept. 17 2002