Heard: Little Green, by Walter Mosly, 2013, Overdrive download.
Narrated by Michael Boatman. Boatman did very well as narrator. He's no John Lee, of course. But, John Lee is a narration God. Lee is to narration as Bill Crider is to blogs. I would be listening along to this novel and recall Boatman's work on Spin City and think of his vain, fastidious character, Carter Heywood. Heywood and Easy Rawlins are very different.
It's 1967 and Easy Rawlins wakes from a series of bad dreams. He's bedridden after a horrendous car wreck on the Pacific Coast Highway. Easy was thrown from his car which then rolled downhill into the ocean. Cops at the scene figured Rawlins was washed out with the tide. But, Easy's homicidal pal Mouse speaks to a witchy-woman who says Easy is alive. Mouse went to the scene, found Easy concealed by thick bushes, and brought him home to recuperate.
Easy feels like a dead man brought back to life and that thought is constantly in his mind throughout the novel. After a month or so of almost-coma his body is creaky and he has little energy. He drinks some mysterious made "Tiger Blood" concoction by Witchy-Woman that gives him bursts of energy before he crashes deep.
Easy says over and over in his narration, and aloud to other characters, that he is like a shark and needs to keep moving forward or he will die. Mouse recognizes this. Mouse asks Easy to help find a missing young man, Evander (Little Green), whose mother is very worried about Evander. There is a weird unknown relationship between Mouse and the boy's mother (Mouse murdered the man's pimp father and the mom holds a grudge). Easy takes the job. Easy starts to look for bookish, mama's boy Little who was last heard of when saying he was going to a club with a hippie chick.
Easy starts walking the streets and everything seems changed. Hippies, open drug use, and easy sex surprise him. He was asleep in the staid '60s and awoke to the counter culture '60s. Easy discovers Evander is linked to a lot of cash and a lot of blood. Evander took acid and awoke with a half million bucks in cash. Easy starts to pull the strings apart to get to the center.
1. Recurring theme: Black man's anger at being treated like crap. Easy sometimes puts up with it, Easy sometimes doesn't put up with it. Easy is almost always on guard.
2. Violence is expected in Easy's life. He runs in rough circles both professionally and socially.
3. Mouse is Easy's best friend but Mouse will still kill Easy if he needs to. Mouse murdered his own father and his honorary father. Mouse has killed so many people he could not name them all. Evander learns Mouse killed Evander's father and Evander figures, "Well, I have to take revenge and kill Mouse." Mouse is fine with this, to him that's the way to world works and if Mouse has to shoot down an 18-year-old then so be it. At one point Easy mentions to Evander's mother how he knows she did not witness Big Green's murder because Mouse would have murdered all witnesses.
4. It's been awhile since I read a Easy Rawlins novel and I recall how Easy was always a little uneasy when around Mouse. Easy can be a hardass and won't back down to most people but he knows to be careful around a sociopath. This novel has Easy with a more relaxed behavior with Mouse. He knows to be careful - he won't mention huge sums of money with Mouse - but Mouse is not the dark shadow of death I recall from before.
5. Ever read that short story by Mosly, Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large: Walking the Line? That was outstanding.