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Six Easy Pieces: Easy Rawlins Stories [Hardcover]

Walter Mosley
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 7 2003
Walter Mosley's bestselling and award-winning novels -- from "Gone Fishin'" to "Devil in a Blue Dress," named one of the "100 Favorite Mysteries of the Century" by the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association -- have endeared him to legions of readers from a U.S. president to everyday people who can't get enough of Easy Rawlins. Now from the bestselling and award-winning writer comes "Six Easy Pieces. "The beloved Ezekiel Rawlins now has a steady job as senior head custodian of Sojourner Truth High School, a nice house with a garden, a loving woman, and children. He counts the blessings of leading a law-abiding life, but is "nowhere near happy." Easy mourns the loss of his best friend, Mouse. Though Easy tries to leave the street life behind, he still finds himself trading favors and investigating cases of arson, murder, and missing people. People who can't depend on the law to solve their problems seek out Easy.A bomb is set in the high school where Easy works. A man's daughter runs off with his employee. A beautiful woman turns up dead and the man who loved her is wrongly accused. Easy is the man people turn to in search of justice and retribution. He even becomes party to a killing that the police might call murder.Six of the seven stories in "Six Easy Pieces" were published in reissued Washington Square Press editions of the Easy Rawlins mysteries "Gone Fishin', Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, Black Betty," and "A Little Yellow Dog." A seventh, "Amber Gate," is newly published here, making this new Walter Mosley classic a must-have for all fans of great fiction.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries received a bonus when Washington Square recently reissued in trade paper the six novels that preceded the latest one, Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002). Each reprint contained an original short story featuring Easy. Now, those stories and a seventh never before published have been gathered together in a volume that's something of a patchwork but still vintage Mosley. In his mid-forties, with a makeshift but tight family and a respectable and responsible job, Easy no longer needs to depend on trading favors to earn a living. But these stories reflect a more restless and reckless man-one who finds himself being drawn to the street life he thought he had left behind. Energized and unsettled by rumors that the dangerous and unpredictable Raymond Alexander, better known as Mouse, might still be alive, Easy undertakes to determine the truth. That extended search also finds Easy undertaking a number of jobs that recall his forte of being a black man more capable than most of dealing with the volatile intersection of blacks and whites in Los Angeles. In short order he investigates arson, murder, a missing person and other crimes. The linked stories form an extended search not only for Mouse but also for answers as Easy confronts the familiar demons of mid-life crisis. Easy occupies center stage, surrounded by a stellar cast of both new and familiar characters, while the spirit of Mouse hovers enticingly nearby.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Easy Rawlins is 44 and working a steady job as head custodian at Sojourner Truth Junior High School; mourning the death of his friend Mouse; caring for his adopted children, Jesus and Feather; and pining for his live-in girlfriend, Bonnie. But this "guy who trades in favors"--really an unofficial detective who helps those who can't go to the police--isn't ready to live the quiet life. As he works a variety of cases involving theft, blackmail, and usually murder, the ghost of his violent alter ego Mouse seems to be flitting about the periphery--Is he really dead?--and Easy's sense of unease is compounded by deep insecurity in his relationship with the woman he loves. This collection of related short stories has an unusual lineage: all but the last, "Amber Gate," were first published in Washington Square Press reissues of all six classic Easy Rawlins mysteries this year (Six Easy Pieces picks up just after the time of 1996's A Little Yellow Dog). Collecting them so soon would feel more like a marketing ploy if they didn't work so well together; despite periodic recaps of the action-to-date, the book reads like an episodic novel. Mosley is as fine as ever, offering compelling commentary on black-white relations in 1964, writing in a style so simple that it deceives us into thinking writing great fiction is as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. It's not, but turning these pages is. Keir Graff
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Revealing, enlightening, engaging!! July 21 2003
The best thing about this book is the prose. The author has a fantastic style. This a magical book that adresses racism, betrayal, and dignity. It keeps you glued to your seat reading well into the night as you follow the protagonist, Easy Rawlins, as he discovers himself after a midlife crisis. Mosley has done it again! And I look forward to his next book. I hugely recommend this book, all of his books. And if you're looking for a few other great titles, look no further than these, Buckland's Hot List: most creative, The Butterfly: A Fable (Singh); most engaging, The Alchemist (Coelho); most interesting, Life of Pi (Martel); most enlightening, 9-11 (Chomsky); most thrilling, The Lovely Bones: A Novel (Sebold); and finally, the most creative, engaging, interesting, enlightening and thrilling book of all, The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery). These are the books I'd recommend to my family, friends, students, and wife. There are many more, trust me, but these are the first that come to mind (for having left an impact slight or proud as it may be). If you have any questions, queries, or comments, or maybe even a title you think I should add to my list, please feel free to e-mail me. I'm always open to a good recommendation. Thanks for reading my brief but hopefully helpful review. Happy reading. Donald S. Buckland.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Picking Up The Pieces July 11 2003
A now mellower Easy Rawlins has a stable job, a beautiful home, and a wonderful family. So by most people's standards, he should be content, but this is not the case for two particular reasons. First, he is still mourning the death of his best friend, Mouse, who was a staple in Easy's life. Secondly, since Easy is a man who craves danger, adventure, and the thrill of the chase, living a quiet, normal life is boring to him.
As an easygoing man, he likes to help others, and when trouble comes knocking, he answers. The latest trouble surrounds a bomb that explodes at the school where he is employed. Easy's love for the children makes him determined to get to the bottom of things. But the bombing has a domino effect and as the events unfold, he is continuously placed in harms way. Easy faces a cast of original characters and some new shady and interesting ones, all of whom keep him on his toes.
SIX EASY PIECES: EASY RAWLINS STORIES, Mosley's latest book, treats readers to seven different Rawlins' adventures, with Easy as the common thread. Mosley has a way of taking readers along on the adventures and this makes his stories even more interesting, and this one comes highly recommended.
Reviewed by Simone A. Hawks
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3.0 out of 5 stars Great lead character, not much else. April 28 2003
"Easy" Rawlins is a black WWII vet with a jones for the streets, but in SIX EASY PIECES he's gone straight more-or-less, working as supervisor of maintenance at Sojourner Truth High School. He's even got a family, two adopted kids he's rescued from abuse (Feather, a mulatto six-year-old and Jesus, a seventeen-year-old) and a live-in lover, but because of his street reputation people from the black community still come to Easy for help. Easy is not in it for the money; he truly cares about his people.
The "six pieces" in the title are short stories revolving around the same setting. It's 1964 Los Angeles and Easy must take on cases the police disdain because they occur in a dangerous part of town. The first story "Smoke" deals with a smoke-bombing of Sojourner Truth, which Easy eventually traces to a gambling debt.
Throughout the first several stories, Easy is haunted by his friend Mouse's murder. Easy feels responsible since Mouse was helping him on one of his cases. Easy has a feeling the notorious Mouse is still alive. Easy is also upset about his live-in lover Bonnie, a stewardess who may have had an affair with a black politician she met during a tour of Africa. Easy feels inferior to the man.
Outside of Easy, Mosley doesn't have much of a flair for character development. Jesus works on his sailing boat; that's about it. Bonnie tries to convince Easy she still loves him. The plot lines of the various stories are rather pedestrian. "Amber Gate" is about the murder of a young prostitute; Easy takes the case as a favor for his shoemaker who promises him a new pair of shoes (worth $200) if he'll help prove a friend of his is innocent. Easy traces the crime to a hobo who hated black prostitutes who mess with white men.
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4.0 out of 5 stars 7 Easy cases in 6 Easy Pieces March 14 2003
I love me some Easy Rawlins! When Walter Mosley let loose another round with Easy I was there to pick up the pieces; Six Easy Pieces.
Six Easy Pieces is a book of seven different stories reminding fans of who Ezekiel Rawlins is (as if we had forgotten) and what he does that makes us love him so. Mosley shows us a forty-four year old man who over time has become a senior janitor at Sojourner Truth Junior High School, a property owner, the father of two, and the lover of one. Despite all of that, each story has a friend needing his help and in spite of himself Easy ends up in the middle of all the action.
Mr. Mosley moves Easy easily through the city of Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California. He is involved with a little bit of everyone doing a little bit of everything. In the story Smoke, Easy investigates arson at his school, in Crimson Stain he investigates the death of a prostitute who found religion, in Lavender he is chasing after a Black boy with his nose wide open behind a flirtatious rich White girl, and in Gray Eyed-Death his past comes bursting back on the scene with a vengeance. These are just four of the seven exciting stories.
Easy Rawlins fans will enjoy this book because Mosley gives you small pieces of Easy and his friends in well told stories and good pacing to keep you reading until the end. This is especially good for those who want to satisfy a small itch but have limited time to read a whole Easy Rawlins Mystery. Those who haven't read Easy Rawlins Mysteries before will get recaps to bring you up to speed but will probably find yourself needing to read the other books to get a complete picture. (And that is not a bad thing.) Walter Mosley does it again and I just want him to keep doing it over and over and over again.
APOOO BookClub
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Scintillating Servings of Suspense
Like all of us, Easy Rawlins is the summation of where he was born, how he has lived, whom he loves, what he wants to become, and why he acts. Read more
Published on Jan. 27 2007 by Donald Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars A great series!
Six Easy Pieces is the second book of Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlins mysteries that I have read. I know that I am late in the series, but I love the character Easy Rawlins. Read more
Published on June 14 2004 by Detroit RAWSISTAZ
5.0 out of 5 stars Being Black in 1955 Los Angeles
A powerful statement about being a black guy in 1955 when the law treated you as either irrelevant or guilty. Read more
Published on July 6 2003 by R. Platten
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy does it.
This was a much welcomed gift to us Easy fans from Walter Mosley, Even though the stories were all published in reissues of his previous works, they seem to flow smoothly. Read more
Published on April 2 2003 by rorich
3.0 out of 5 stars Gotta read this if you want to know what happened to Mouse
The seven short stories are definitely easy to read, and it's a pleasure to once more be in the company of Easy Rawlings. Read more
Published on March 18 2003 by Booked4Life
5.0 out of 5 stars Walter Mosley Does It Again
Six Pieces is a must get for any true Easy Rawlins fan. It has suspense Is or Isn't Mouse alive? It has drama What's going with Bonnie? This is a true wonderful book. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2003 by Rosa
3.0 out of 5 stars OVER EASY
Fans of the Easy Rawlins Series will be thrilled with this collection of seven short stories, six of which were culled from previous works and one that is original. Read more
Published on Feb. 17 2003 by Bonita L. Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Seven Easy Pieces
This collection includes one new and six previously published longish short stories featuring one of Walter Mosley's most fascinating characters, Easy Rawlins, a man who grew up... Read more
Published on Jan. 26 2003 by J Scott Morrison
5.0 out of 5 stars easy historical mystery read
This seven-story anthology focuses on the life of Easy Rawlins as he tries to serve as a role model for his two kids, be faithful to his sweetheart, and stay off the streets of... Read more
Published on Jan. 18 2003 by Harriet Klausner
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