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Blonde Faith, by Walter Mosley (Read by Michael Boatman)

Blonde Faith
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Life is anything but easy for Easy (Ezekiel) Rawlins, and he's getting tired of the struggle. For years he's been the "go to" man for friends, relatives and business associates. Two of his friends have mysteriously disappeared, forcing him to deal with the situations and families they left behind. Christmas Black, the former soldier who adopted the only surviving child after his killing rampage in a Vietnamese village, has left his cherished daughter with Easy without an explanation. Easy's other missing friend, Raymond "Mouse" Alexander, is wanted for murder, and the only way Easy can clear him is to prove that the supposed murder victim is really just a runaway father of 12. Easy's love life is no more satisfying than his friendships at this point. The lover he cast aside is about to marry an African prince, and he can't stop thinking he's lost his only chance for happiness. Curiously, the distractions of corruption, murder, and drug dealing keep Easy positively engaged and make this audio book engrossing and thrilling rather than depressing.

Blond Faith, Walter Mosley's tenth Easy Rawlins mystery gives the listener deep insight into Easy's character. As a licensed private detective in post-Watts Los Angeles, Easy sees first hand the impact of the American civil rights movement. Interspersed with the story is commentary about life for a black man, woman or child in 1967 America. Mosley has created a character who is imperfect, but whose actions the reader can understand and forgive. His acts of womanizing and violence are offset by the tender way he protects his family and friends. Even Easy's decision to orchestrate murders seems to be logical, justified and pardonable.

Added to Mosley's brilliant writing is Michael Boatman's masterful performance of the author's words. Boatman is able to suggest the grit and harshness of the inner city while expressing the tender and fragile humanity of the innocent people who live there. This audio book is much more than just a good mystery with believable and sympathetic characters. It is an invitation to examine a turbulent time in the not-so-distant past through the eyes of a man who was both victim and victor, an invitation to feel another's pain and restoration. It's a pleasure to recommend this audio book with its equal measures of insight and entertainment.

Ruth Mormon

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