Devil in a Blue Dress | Critical Review by Elsie B. Washington

This literature criticism consists of approximately 2 pages of analysis & critique of Devil in a Blue Dress.
This section contains 406 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
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Critical Review by Elsie B. Washington

SOURCE: "Walter Mosley: Writing about Easy," in Essence, Vol. 21, No. 9, January, 1991, p. 32.

In the following review, Washington discusses Mosley's characters in Devil in a Blue Dress and concludes, "Together Mosley's people make an old-fashioned page turner."

When Walter Mosley, author of Devil in a Blue Dress, was growing up in the Watts section of Los Angeles, he didn't have to depend on radio, television or the silver screen for thrilling tales of love and anger, crime, passion and revenge. Right in the family's own living room, Mosley's father and other relatives and friends from New Iberia. Louisiana, and parts of Georgia and Texas regaled the future writer with "crazy stories from their own young-manhood about partying and drinking and enjoying life."

Mosley, 39, set his first novel in Los Angeles, even though he has lived in New York since 1982, because, he explains, "my psychological base is there." The colorful stories from childhood come alive in the book. "Some Blacks in L.A. during the 1940's had a tenuous relationship with the law," Mosley says. "You couldn't depend on the law to protect you. So of course guns and violence grew out of the anger and frustration of poverty."

The hero of Devil in a Blue Dress is Easy Rawlins. A Texasborn World War II veteran who has migrated to Los Angeles, Rawlins tries to regain the aircraft-plant job he lost because of insubordination, pay the mortgage on his small house and enjoy the occasional comfort of a female bedmate. Meanwhile, he is hired to find a missing blonde woman. Before you can say "Holy Mosley," he finds himself more involved than he'd like to be with a missing $30,000, liquor hijackers, after-hours dub denizens such as sloe-eyed Coretta, who was a "vain man's dream," and seriously tough men such as Emie, the barber and opera buff who can be very creative with a straight razor when irritated. Together Mosley's people make an old-fashioned page turner.

The book has hit pay dirt. Paperback rights were sold last fall for $82,500, and film rights have been bought by producer Reuben Cannon; Danny Glover would serve as executive producer and possible star.

The book is a dream come true, and Mosley worked at it for five years. "My interest in Easy is that he's a way to look at how you make it in America if you're not educated—if you have to work hard," says Mosley.

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This section contains 406 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Review by Elsie B. Washington