The 10th Easy Rawlins novel, Blonde Faith is rumored to be Walter Mosley's last foray into the detective's hard-boiled world. In this installment, Rawlins must track down his friend Christmas Black, whose daughter, Easter Dawn (Mosley's books are worth the read for the characters' names alone), has ended up in Rawlins's care in her father's absence. As with all Easy Rawlins books, Blonde Faith is as much a study in 1960s segregated, tumultuous L.A. as it is a detective novel. In this one, however, the turmoil of the post-Watts riots Vietnam era of the streets invades Rawlins's otherwise idyllic corner of the city and his psyche. In the opening chapters, after Rawlins saves his friend's daughter from prostitution, he wonders how he could see himself as the girl he saved saw him: "a hero filled with power and certainty." Rawlins's self-doubt mirrors the increasingly complex view of African American males at the end of the '60s. Combined with Rawlins's lamenting his breakup with his girlfriend Bonnie, Mosley presents a picture of Easy that is anything but.
Thu., Nov. 15, 7 p.m., 2007