Monday, January 23, 2017

Book Review: ROSE GOLD, by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley
Doubleday, 2014
308 pages
Crime / Private Eye

I will never forget seeing Denzel Washington in the movie, Devil in a Blue Dress. Thought it was one of the best films I'd ever seen. I then did some digging of my own. Learned that the movie was based on the book of the same name, by Walter Mosely. Ever since, I have been a devout fan, Devout.

ROSE GOLD is the 13th Easy Rawlins novel. Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is an African American private investigator. The books take place between the 1940s through the 1960s. It is some of the best noir, gritty, hard-boiled stuff on bookshelves.

Little by little Easy has done alright. A hard worker, he's saved up money, and takes care of his family. When not solving cases, he has a number of rental properties that he owns. He is a man of the people. Tough, and fearless, he has a heart of gold. Unfortunately, those in the know have no problem taking advantage of Easy's position.

When Easy's properties start failing inspections, and fees begin piling up, the timing couldn't be any worse. He is in the middle of moving, taking his family a few blocks away, into something a little bigger, a little better. With his money tied-up, he's forced to work on the rental repairs himself. But there is a time limit to get all of the work done.

So when Roger Frisk, assistant to the LAPD chief of police, shows up offering Easy work, and the promise of making the fines disappear, he has no choice but to see what's what. Turns out college student, Rosemary Goldsmith, is missing. She hasn't been seen on campus in weeks. It could be she took off, or quite possibly that she's been kidnapped. Foster Goldsmith, Rose's father, is the owner of Goldsmith Armaments. With a constant threat of war, Goldsmith's business in weaponry does very, very well.

Thing is, Frisk isn't hiring Easy to find Rose. He wants Easy to track down ex-boxer Robert Mantle. For a large paycheck, and his rental properties vanishing, all Easy needs to do is tell Frisk where Mantle is. That's it. Nothing more.

Except, nothing is ever as it seems, nor is anything that easy. The saying is, "If it sounds too good to be true . . . "

I said it earlier, I will mention it one more time. I am a devout fan of Walter Mosley and his writing. Thing is, as much as I want to recommend this book to you . . . I almost can't. Do yourself a favor. Go back to the beginning. Start with DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS. Experience each of the Easy novels in order. So much happens in each tale, and carries on into the next book. (Can someone pick up Rose Gold and read it without having read the first in the series? Sure. Absolutely. It's just, me? Personally? I wouldn't recommend it. Do yourself a favor. Submerge yourself in Mosley's writing. If you like crime drama, noir, and solid characters . . . You don't want to miss out on someone I consider one of today's best crime novelists.

Phillip Tomasso
Author of the Severed Empire Series
and The Vaccination Trilogy

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