Sunday, March 14, 2010

A Red Death

By Walter Mosley

I'm still working through the pile of pulp detective novels on my 'to read' shelf and I'm glad I didn't stop because after the Gods of Mars, this book was just what the doctor ordered. At first I was chary because the last Mosley novel had been some what predictable (I'd seen the film and heard the radio play) and because it seeme d to be more about race than about a detective mystery. In fact this novel also contains a lot of racial commentary, but I was expecting it this time and it didn't detract from the pleasure of the story.

In fact the story was great and the first half was really good. Mosely switched a few things around from the previous book, or rather he clarified things in a way that put a relationship under a strain and so suddenly there was an unexpected tension that worked wonders for the story. This tension also worked because at first the story was rather vague and I wasn't quite sure what it was about. 'Easy' Rawlins is maneuvered by the Feds into getting close to a Jewish Communist and find out what the red is doing, but nothing seems to add up. The Communist seems quite good natured and the Feds seem like the bad guys but nothing is as it seems. Three plot twists later and the story is over and the pages are still slightly smoldering, I'm ready to oder the next 'easy' Rawlins novel and Walter Mosley just movd up to second place in the moif pantheon of great noir fiction authors!

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