Little, Brown, Oct 2007, $25.95
In post Watts riot Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins knows he must be very careful working as a private investigator as that is against the law for a black man. However, when he comes home he finds eight years old E.D. Black waiting for him. The Vietnamese child says her daddy Christmas dropped her off. Easy fears that his close friend is either in deep trouble or dead.
Easy plans to find Christmas, but he meets black army Captain Miles and two MPs who also want to find Christmas. The Captain hires Easy on behalf of the military, but by their involvement the sleuth knows whatever is going on ties back to when Christmas served in Viet Nam. Easy follows clues that lead to BLONDE FAITH Laneer, who he believes is in the same trouble as Christmas is. He also cannot turn to friend insane Raymond "Mouse" Alexander for help as the police have a bounty to kill him. Already upset with his beloved Bonnie Shay planning to marry someone else and feeling all alone and ancient as he nears fifty he doubts his sleuthing skills while struggling to find a way to save Christmas in order for the detective to obtain some redemption and self esteem.
The latest Easy Rawlins historical mystery is an excellent tale that shows how complex a protagonist the hero is. He has major doubts that he can still do the job and feels guilty over his failed relationship with his soul mate. However, in spite of his anguish and angst, he still must do everything he can to help his buddy. Fans of the series already know how great these novels are; whereas newcomers will scramble for the backlist as few if any authors tell the American black saga during the pre, early and late Civil Rights era better than Walter Mosley consistently does.