When the IRS comes knocking at your door looking for back taxes, it will put you in an untenable position that provides no easy way out. Easy Rawlins finds himself in such a situation in the novel, A Red Death. A Red Death is the second novel in the Easy Rawlins series.

The story revolves around a bigoted IRS agent coming after Easy for tax evasion. If he does not pay back taxes, Easy will get prison time. The IRS Agent is putting a squeeze on him for various reasons. However, Easy gets an offer to ease his back taxes by helping FBI agent Darryl Craxton investigate a local church and find out about alleged communist union organizer Chaim Wenzler.

Easy has no other options and agrees to FBI Agent Craxton’s offer. He becomes a target as soon as he accepts the offer, and the killings start. How can he escape that situation and lower his tax burden?

With a masterful touch, Mosley keeps the reader guessing about the perpetrator of the murders until the final pages of the novel. Furthermore, he captures a unique perspective of 1950s African American Los Angeles that often goes unnoticed in fiction. The book transported me back to that era, and Mosley’s dialogue felt authentic.

The dynamic between Easy and his volatile best friend, Raymond “Mouse” Alexander along with several other characters in the novel, adds depth and richness to the story. A Red Death offers a standalone reading experience for newcomers to this highly regarded crime fiction series. I’ve already finished the first three books of the series and now recognize that A Red Death is meant to be read in tandem with the others.  Highly recommended.


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