My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Less a crime novel than a character study of a man in conflict with his domestic life, his uneasy friendships, his position as a black man in a white-dominated society and his own sense of worth, all explored while he sets out to commit one crime and ends up investigating another.
This is Mosley at his best writing Easy Rawlins at his best, slipping easily between conflicting states, moralising and making judgement of others while not being afraid to expose his own limitations and blind spots, and struggling to demand respect from the world while engaging all around him from a default state that automatically demands he lie and bluff as his opening gambit at all times. Rawlins– and sidekick Mouse– is a joy to follow as a character, and it really doesn’t matter how convoluted or simple the crime might be. That’s not why the reader is on board. And while the mystery and its convoluted path towards conclusion are enjoyable enough to keep the reader’s interest in this novel, it really is only secondary to watching this fascinating, multi-layered, all-too human man wrestle with his demons, and decide which ones he will conquer and which ones he will, inevitably, call master. Superbly readable, thoroughly enjoyable, and full of style and humour. A delight.