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Six Easy Pieces: Easy Rawlins Stories Hardcover – Jan 7 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Atria (Jan. 7 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743442520
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743442527
  • Product Dimensions: 14.7 x 2.5 x 22.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,154,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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
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Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 27 2007
Format: Paperback
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. In the case of Easy (born Ezekiel), Louisiana spawned a poor boy who fought his way of the roughest part of Houston at the side of his unafraid and murderous friend, Raymond Alexander (Mouse) via World War II, and then came to Watts where the only people he could trust were other African Americans. Hiding his good side, Easy did favors for people . . . and righted many wrongs in the process. This often placed him in a vulnerable position between the police who wanted to use him . . . and evil-doers who wanted to eliminate him. In the process, Easy emerged as middle-aged with two children he has rescued (Jesus who dreamily builds a sail boat and young Feather who goes to school), a little yellow dog, Frenchie, and Bonnie, a stewardess he has invited into their lives. Unknown to most, he's become a property owner building a future for his kids. In public, he heads the custodial staff at Sojourner Truth Junior High School. In private, he will right wrongs that others will walk past.

These seven short stories capture Easy in transition while he tries to settle down at 44 in 1964. The first six stories were added to the reprints of Gone Fishin', Devil in a Blue Dress, A Red Death, White Butterfly, Black Betty, and A Little Yellow Dog in 2002. The seventh story is new with this volume.

These stories deeply explore Easy's relationship with his friend, Mouse, Easy's family, his work, and a number of his friends. As background, Easy had asked Mouse to help him a year earlier. That help had led to Mouse being shot and carried off with no pulse by his wife, EttaMae.
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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
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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Format: Hardcover
"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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