- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

“Rose Gold” (Doubleday), by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley evokes the curious turns of the Patty Hearst kidnapping saga and the fractured culture of that era in “Rose Gold,” his latest Easy Rawlins crime thriller.

Rawlins, a black private investigator based in Los Angeles, follows leads from poor, simmering L.A. streets to secluded beachside mansions and laid-back hippie encampments. His search recalls a time when a California heiress like Hearst could be abducted by a band of oddball militants calling themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army.

The heiress whom Rawlins is hired to find is the “Rose Gold” of the title - Rosemary Goldsmith is her name - the daughter of a wealthy, secretive armaments magnate. The SLA-type cell that holds her is Scorched Earth, whom authorities view as a crime-prone revolutionary band created by a black former boxer.

There are many page-turning twists in Rawlins’ hunt for the poor little rich girl, and more than one mystery to be solved by the much-in-demand private detective. “Rose Gold,” the 13th entry in the Easy Rawlins series, is the second book finding him back in action after his apparent death in 2007’s “Blonde Faith,” which ended with him driving a car off a Pacific cliff.

Fans of Mosley’s private investigator were grateful Rawlins survived, and for good reason: Mosley’s writing gifts go well beyond the gumshoe genre. With Rawlins, he weaves in a tense racial element throughout, and raises the level of his achievement.

This reader was late looking into the Easy Rawlins novels - the first, “Devil in a Blue Dress,” came out to rave reviews in 1990 - but it’s clear why they stirred such excitement. As AP reviewer Bruce DeSilva put it last year: “Taken together, they are nothing less than a history of race relations in post-World War II Los Angeles.”

In “Rose Gold,” Rawlins may bump into police corruption, and, like other private eyes, his life is not without fine broads and bad apples. But Mosley’s characters invariably fill out a spectrum of skin shades and display a wide variety of human scruples. Sorting them out is not always easy.

In “Rose Gold,” Rawlins is stopped by verbally abusive white policemen, ordered out of his car, patted down and nearly arrested. His “crime” is that he had a young white woman named Coco beside him.

The police finally leave, and she asks: “How can you live with people treating you like that?”

Rawlins replies: “You know, Coco, some questions just don’t have answers.”

___

Online:

https://www.waltermosley.com/

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide