First let me say that I don’t know why it took me so long to start this series. I always knew that I would enjoy them once I got started. However, I admit that I was just a tiny bit nervous starting this one because I attempted to read Killing Johnny Fry early in 2017 and it was no bueno! I DNF'd that sucker and never looked back! It was Mosley's take on an erotic story and let me tell ya, it wasn't my cup of tea in any way shape or form. Just no. Nuh uh. Naw, y'all! You can read what little I had to say about Killing Johnny Fry here.
Devil in a Blued Dress on the other hand, is a perfect example of why Walter Mosley is such a respected and widely read author. Mosley skillfully injects social commentary into a murder mystery and makes the story about more than just who did the dead and why. Mosley cleanly and unflinchingly exposes his readers to what it means for Easy to be a black man in post World War II America, and it isn't a comfortable or easy existence. The injustice, intolerance, and general inequity that Easy experiences almost daily just by being what he was born to be allows Mosley to make his reader just as uneasy as Easy is himself. Mosley inserts so many 'black truths and realities' so seamlessly that the world that Mosley exposes feels like an up close and personal look into someone's actual life.
I went into Devil in a Blue Dress thinking that I would get a really well written and entertaining mystery and that's about it. I knew that Easy Rawlins is a beloved character and that the entire series is well loved and widely read, but I was not expecting Mosley to deliver such rich and complicated characters that would get me excited to see just how deep Mosley is going to dig in future books. The whole cast of characters in Devil in a Blue Dress are well fleshed out, even the ones that are revolting. I was surprised that I found myself needing to mark conversations and other sections because they stood out so clearly to me. I thought that I was just going to be entertained, not prodded to think about 'real' issues.
What I loved the most about reading this book is the way that Mosley taps you on the shoulder in different scenes and basically says "You seeing this crap? Yeah, THIS is Easy's reality." Mosley is another author that I am kicking myself for not getting read sooner in my life. Better late than never, and because of being so late to the game I now have the pleasure of being able to read through thirteen more Easy Rawlins books without having to wait for new installments! This was a perfect way to start of #readingblackout2018. If you haven't picked this series up I highly recommend it. AND it fits nicely into the reading black out! You can read about the reading black out here.
Some of my highlights:
**Sometimes, when a white man of authority would catch me off guard, I'd empty my head of everything so I was unable to say anything. "The less you know, they less trouble you find," they used to say. I hated myself for it, but I also hated white people, and colored people too, for making me this way. -Easy Rawlins**
**That was why so many Jews back then understood the American Negro; in Europe the Jews had been a Negro for more than a thousand years. -Easy Rawlins**
**That's just like you, Easy. You learn stuff and you be thinkin' like white men be thinkin'. You be thinkin' what's right fo' them is right fo' you...And a nigger ain't never gonna be happy 'less he accept what he is. -Mouse**
About the Author
(This is the suave author picture that is in the back of my copy)
Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numerous awards, including an O. Henry Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, a Grammy, and PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award. He lives in New York City.
I do believe I will be watching the movie again soon. I know that I have seen it, but I don't remember much from it.