Sunday, May 9, 2021

Blood Grove by Walter Mosley


Easy Rawlins' life is going well at the moment.  His detective agency is ticking along.  His adopted daughter, Feather, has settled in and is thriving.  He has a girlfriend who definitely holds his interest. 1969 is going well for him although whiffs of unease and unrest are in the air in sunny California.   The last thing he needs is a young, white Vietnam vet for a client.

The young man shows up at Rawlin's office and is desperate for help.  He tells a disjointed story of taking a date to the blood orange groves he learned about as a child only to encounter a man there.  There is a fight and the man is knocked out.  When he awakes, his date and dog are gone and he suspects that he might have killed the man he fought with.  He wants Easy to find out if there has been a death and to locate his girlfriend and dog.  Rawlins is not inclined to take the case but his connection with other veterans tips the balance and he agrees to help the man.

Rawlins starts the investigation with help from various friends.  At home, there's another issue.  Another young white man has shown up and he is Feather's uncle.  He wants to meet her and while Easy knows Feather deserves to know her background and family history, he can't help but wonder what this will mean for the life he and Feather have built together.  

As the investigation deepens, Rawlins encounters con men, robberies, his client's mother who is a former dancer and prostitute, and plenty of racist cops.  This is the beginning of the Black Panthers and a realization by those of color that things need to change and this may be the time.  But there are plenty of people who don't believe change is necessary and they are willing to do whatever it takes to keep the status quo.  Bodies start to show up and Rawlins is determined to get to the bottom of it all.

I listened to this novel and the narrator is perfect.  His vocal style is like the main character's name, easy and smooth.  There are no disquieting pauses or breaks to interrupt the story's flow.  

This is the fifteenth novel in the Easy Rawlins series.  Walter Mosley is a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers Of America and has won numerous prizes for his crime series.  His work has also won several NAACP Image Awards as they portray an accurate vision of what racial prejudice means to those living in it and how things have started to change over the past fifty to sixty years.  The story in this novel is complex with many characters but everything is resolved satisfactorily by the end.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.  

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