I will admit that I came late to the party on the work of Walter Mosley. I read White Butterfly back in 2012 and liked it. However, I had not read other Walter Mosley novels until now. As a reader and reviewer, you get sidetracked or distracted by other books you want to read you forget to go back to something that you read and liked. Better late than never….as the adage goes!
Devil In A Blue Dress is the first novel in the acclaimed and well-regarded Easy Rawlins series. This novel introduces Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins as he loses his job at a defense plant and needs money to pay his mortgage. Easy comes into contact with a man named Dewitt Albright. Albright is looking for a white woman named Daphne Monet who likes to visit the black jazz clubs of post World War 2 Los Angeles. Easy is hired by Albright to find Monet and ends up getting more than he bargained for.
Mosley does a solid job in creating an interesting character with Easy Rawlins. His juxtaposition of street toughness and deep introspection gives me a connection as a reader and I will admit that the reflective Easy Rawlins was more interesting to me than finding Daphne Monet.
This is a crime novel and Mosley follows the tropes of the genre well, bringing it to a satisfying conclusion. However, I’m drawn to characters in a story and Easy jumped off the page for me as a reader. I learned about him growing up in Houston and his time in World War 2 in the story. Those elements provide depth to a character that I will explore in subsequent books of the series. Devil In A Blue Dress is a solid mystery novel and fans of the genre should read it. I’ve heard the movie with Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle was a disappointment compared to the novel. That could be possible. I would write that book is worth reading and is the best compliment I could give for this review.