Did you know Denzel Washington played Easy Rawlins in the Devil in a Blue Dress movie in 1995?
What is the Easy Rawlins series about?
Created by mystery author Walter Mosley, Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins is an African-American private investigator.
More precisely, Rawlins is a hard-boiled detective and World War II veteran from, Louisiana living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Most of the time, he is reluctant to take on cases, but even when he doesn’t have a choice, he does his best.
How to read the Easy Rawlins Books in Order?
Every book in the Easy Rawlins series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Devil in a Blue Dress – Set in the late 1940s, in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles, Easy Rawlins is a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.
- A Red Death – It’s 1953 in Red-baiting, blacklisting Los Angeles, a moral tar pit ready to swallow Easy Rawlins. Easy is out of “the hurting business” and into the housing (and favor) business when a racist IRS agent nails him for tax evasion. Special Agent Darryl T. Craxton, FBI, offers to bail him out if he agrees to infiltrate the First American Baptist Church and spy on alleged communist organizer Chaim Wenzler. That’s when the murders begin…
- White Butterfly – The police don’t show up on Easy Rawlins’s doorstep until the third girl dies. It’s Los Angeles, 1956, and it takes more than one murdered black girl before the cops get interested. Now they need Easy. But he turns them down. He’s married now, a father — and his detective days are over. Then a white college coed dies the same brutal death, and the cops put the heat on Easy: If he doesn’t help, his best friend is headed for jail. So Easy’s back…
- Black Betty – 1961: Ordinarily, Easy Rawlins would have thrown the two bills in the sleazy shamus’ face — the white man who wanted him to find the notorious Black Betty, an ebony siren whose talent for all things rich and male took her from Houston’s Fifth Ward to Beverly Hills. There was too much Easy wasn’t being told, but he couldn’t resist the prospect of seeing Betty again, even if it killed him…
- A Little Yellow Dog – November 1963: Easy Rawlins’s settled into a steady gig as a school custodian. It’s a quiet, simple existence — but a few moments of ecstasy with a sexy teacher will change all that. When the lady vanishes, Easy’s stuck with a couple of corpses, the cops on his back, and a little yellow dog who’s nobody’s best friend. With his not-so-simple past snapping at his heels, and with enemies old and new looking to get even, Easy must kiss his careful little life goodbye…
- Gone Fishin’ – In the beginning…there was Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins and Raymond “Mouse” Alexander — two young men setting out in life, hitting the road in a ’36 Ford headed for Pariah, Texas. The volatile Mouse wants to retrieve money from his stepfather so he can marry his EttaMae. But on their steamy bayou excursion, Mouse will choose murder as a way out, while Easy’s past liaison with EttaMae floats precariously in his memory. Easy and Mouse are coming of age — and everything they ever knew about friendship and about themselves is coming apart at the seams…
- Bad Boy Brawly Brown – Easy Rawlins is out of the investigation business and as far away from crime as a black man can be in 1960s Los Angeles. When an old friend gets in enough trouble to ask for Easy’s help, he finds he can’t refuse. Young Brawly Brown has traded in his family for The Clan of the First Men, a group rejecting white leadership, history, and laws–and they’re dangerous. Brown’s mom, Alva, needs to know her baby’s okay, and Easy promises to find him.
- Six Easy Pieces – Easy Rawlins should be living a contented life, with steady work as senior head custodian of Sojourner Truth High School, and a loving family. But happiness is as elusive for Easy as smoke in shadows. Easy’s the man folks seek out when they can’t take their problems to anyone else. Trading favors and investigating cases of arson, murder, missing persons, and false accusations, it’s hard to steer clear of trouble. Easy walks the line in this must-have collection from bestselling, award-winning author Walter Mosley.
- Little Scarlet – Just after devastating riots tear through Los Angeles in 1965, when anger is high and fear still smolders everywhere, the police turn up at Easy Rawlins’ doorstep. He expects the worst, as usual. But they’ve come to ask for his help. A man was wrenched from his car by a mob at the riots’ peak and escaped into a nearby apartment building. Soon afterward, a redheaded woman known as Little Scarlet was found dead in that building, and the fleeing man is the obvious suspect. But the man has vanished. The police fear that their presence in certain neighborhoods could spark a new inferno, so they ask Easy Rawlins to see what he can discover.
- Cinnamon Kiss – It is the Summer of Love, and Easy Rawlins is contemplating robbing an armored car. It’s farther outside the law than Easy has ever traveled, but his daughter, Feather, needs a medical treatment that costs far more than he can earn or borrow in time. Then another friend, Saul Lynx, offers a job that might solve Easy’s problem without jail time. He has to track the disappearance of an eccentric prominent attorney. His assistant of sorts, the beautiful “Cinnamon” Cargill, is gone as well. Easy can tell there is much more than he is being told…
- Blonde Faith – Easy Rawlins comes home one day to find Easter, the daughter of his friend Christmas Black, left on his doorstep. Easy knows that this could only mean that the ex-marine Black is probably dead, or will be soon. Easter’s appearance is only the beginning, as Easy is immersed in a sea of problems. The love of his life is marrying another man and his friend Mouse is wanted for the murder of a father of 12. As he’s searching for a clue to Christmas Black’s whereabouts, two suspicious MPs hire him to find his friend Black on behalf of the U.S. Army.
- Little Green – Easy Rawlins returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of that haven for Los Angeles hippies, the Sunset Strip. He’s soon back in top form, cruising the gloriously psychedelic mean streets of L.A. with his murderous sidekick, Mouse. They’ve been hired to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem.
- Rose Gold – Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, has been kidnapped by a black revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth. Their leader, Uhuru Nolicé, is holding her for ransom and if he doesn’t receive the money, weapons, and apology he demands, “Rose Gold” will die-horribly and publicly. So the authorities turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary lines to resolve this dangerous standoff and find Rose Gold before it’s too late.
- Charcoal Joe – Easy Rawlins has started a new detective agency with two trusted partners and has a diamond ring in his pocket for his longtime girlfriend Bonnie Shay. Finally, Easy’s life seems to be heading toward something that looks like normalcy, but, inevitably, a case gets in the way. Easy’s friend Mouse calls in a favor-he wants Easy to meet with Rufus Tyler, an aging convict whom everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son has been charged with the murder of two white men. Joe is convinced the young man is innocent and wants Easy to prove it.
- Blood Grove – It is 1969, and flames can be seen on the horizon, protest wafts like smoke through the thick air, and Easy Rawlins gets a visit from a white Vietnam veteran. The young man comes to Easy with a story that makes little sense. He and his lover, a beautiful young woman, were attacked in a citrus grove at the city’s outskirts. He may have killed a man, and the woman and his dog are now missing. Inclined to turn down what sounds like nothing but trouble, Easy takes the case when he realizes how damaged the young vet is from his war experiences-the bond between veterans superseding all other considerations.
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