Bad Boy Brawly Brown by Walter Mosley –
from the video (with apologies for the sound quality): Walter Mosley’s storytelling is seductive. You’re in deep before you even know what’s happening, and at the end you may find yourself wondering…wait, what happened? So it was with me and the Easy Rawlins page turner Bad Boy Brawly Brown, whom Easy goes to entirely too much trouble to save. But a combination of loyalty to a friend and the thrill of the adventure draws him in? And that sense of being drawn in and trying to figure out what the hell is going on is something the reader has in common with Easy, although in Easy’s case getting in too deep could cost him his life. And continuing: Easy Rawlins isn’t so much a detective as a 1960s Ray Donovan, a fixer for people out of options. In this book, the only one I’ve read in the series, Easy, grieving and feeling the guilt of the loss of his side kick, Mouse, is called upon by a long time friend to track down his girlfriend’s wayward son. They fear the son may have got himself into some sticky business, stickier than that, and Easy has to find him and figure out if he can extricate him. A gun pointed at his head, police on his ass, an attempt on his life later, we’re wondering seriously (!) why he doesn’t just go home to his own kids and forget the kid who doesn’t want to be saved. But Easy, though he moves in the shadows, is a man of honour…and a part of him is addicted to the adrenaline, the thrill. But in a world where nobody is being straight with anybody, especially Easy, untangling the knots and getting out alive – much less getting Brawly out – is iffy. The plot makes the book a page turner, the character of Easy – flawed, driven by his own demons, a family man trying to do right and hold on to his fresh start – makes it an interesting read. It helps that I pictured Easy as the Denzel Washington version of the character, in Devil in a Blue Dress(Right?!). When I mentioned on social media that I was reading an Easy book, someone commented that Mosely was having a pop culture moment (again) thanks to a mention on Luke Cage – and when I think about it, Luke and Easy have much in common – both men who honour their debts, look out for their community, battle their demons, grapple with their pasts, move in the shadows. Easy, of course, is not bullet proof (hell, he can’t even give up cigarettes), which ups the risk and increases the tension for the reader. Verdict: A relatively quick ride, with a side of car tilting and screeching tyres…and surprising heart.