Thursday, October 18, 2007

Blonde Faith: Why it's good to be able to trust an author

Just finished reading Walter Mosley's latest, Blonde Faith, and I wish I hadn't--finished that is. There are some authors who are so dependably good you just wish they'd write as fast as you can read, so you'd never be without one of their books. Almost all of my fiction reading is done just before I go to sleep and I look forward to that time as a reward for a hard day's work. If I don't have a dependable author to turn to, I get cranky and have a hard time falling asleep.

For me, Walter Mosley is one of the most dependable. Even though he has tried some very different genres over the years, I have enjoyed them all, from the spacey afro-youth novel "47" through the gritty tales of Socrates Fortlow to the darkness of "The Man in the Basement." For sheer enjoyment, the Paris Minton and Easy Rawlins series are the best and this is where Blonde Faith fits in. I don't want to give anything away, but this one could be a shocker for Easy fans. If you have not read any of the others in the series, don't start here, go for Devil in a Blue Dress. In fact, what I recommend--and literary purists are going to cringe at this--is first watch the movie of Devil in a Blue Dress then read the book. Why? Because then you will see Easy as Denzel Washington when you make your way through the rest of the series, and that really worked for me. Denzel Washington has the same wry smile of an angry soul that is so often an Easy's face.

And remember, with any Easy Rawlins novel you not only get night after night of suspense and intrigue and illicit sex, you also get a first rate education in what it felt like to grow up black in America in the forties and fifties (and probably the sixties through the nineties as well).