Just finished: Devil in a Blue Dress by Walter Mosley

Here’s the blurb:

Devil in a Blue Dress honors the tradition of the classic American detective novel by bestowing on it a vivid social canvas and the freshest new voice in crime writing in years, mixing the hard-boiled poetry of Raymond Chandler with the racial realism of Richard Wright to explosive effect.

My thoughts:

This is definitely hard boiled mystery. There is a kind of noir feel to it as well being set in 1940s Los Angeles. There is a lot of violence and overt racism that are explored but also a kind of mysticism that I think was what threw off the pacing for me. This book is definitely teeing up the rest of the series I think as well, so there is a lot that is trying to be done in one relatively slim volume.

All of this together made the story feel a bit uncoordinated. There wasn’t really a mystery to solve other than why Easy has to be such a casual womanizer (the answer apparently being that private eye tropes require it). Overall, I enjoyed the setting and mood of the book, but it was very light on the things that I really enjoy in a good mystery novel, the whodunit.

This would be good for anyone that enjoys gritty historical fiction. It was also, as I mentioned in a earlier review a good reflection on what racism looked like in American during post-WWII but before the Civil Rights era of the 1960s. So read in conjunction with Kindred, we get a taste of slavery era South, post WWII southwest, and post Civil Rights movement southwest all from the point of view of black authors and black characters.

Overall: 3 stars

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