Walter Mosley | Critical Review by Bill Ott

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Walter Mosley.
This section contains 337 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Bill Ott

Critical Review by Bill Ott

SOURCE: A review of A Little Yellow Dog, in Booklist, Vol. 92, No. 17, May 1, 1996, p. 1469.

In the following review, Ott contends that Mosley's placement of Easy Rawlins in true historical context is the primary reason for the success of the series.

Most successful mystery series find a good groove and stay put, holding their audience with the pleasures of familiarity. Only the best crime writers manage to rework their grooves, staying put but never letting comfort supersede substance. Then there's Walter Mosley, whose Easy Rawlins mysteries break most of the rules. By allowing Easy to grow older in real time (in five books, the series has moved from the mid-1940s through 1963), Mosley forces himself to reinvent his hero in every book, asking readers to accept change in a series character much as we would in ourselves, gradually but inevitably. In this installment [A Little Yellow Dog] Easy has moved away from the street life that has alternately attracted and repelled him in the past; he's working as a building engineer at a Los Angeles junior high school, raising his two adopted children, and struggling to avoid the storm clouds of discontent that continue to gather both in the nation and in his South Central L.A. home as the 1960s grind on. Then an impulsive decision to help a beautiful schoolteacher hide her yapping dog from an angry husband threatens to jeopardize Easy's hard-won island of security. Soon he becomes a top suspect in two murders and must return to the street if he is to extricate himself from the mess. Mosley lets his plot unravel with the skill of a genre veteran, but as always, it is his ability to set Easy's personal story in the context of the historical moment that gives this series its uniqueness. November 1963 isn't just ambience here; it's counterpoint to the drama of an individual black man realizing that his world will never be the same again. A superb novel in a superb series.

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This section contains 337 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Bill Ott
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