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BOOK REVIEW: Walter Mosley's 'Blonde Faith' mystery is to die for

For die-hard Walter Mosley fans, returning to the pages of an Easy Rawlins novel is like meeting up with an old friend at a much anticipated class reunion. "Blonde Faith" is one of those "Don't you dare interrupt me" novels. It’s colorful, fast-paced, and the detective work is reminiscent of TV's "CSI," "Without a Trace" and "Cold Case." Pages are filled with just about everything one would expect from a crime TV series ... violence, passion, sex, mystery, glamour and betrayal. And appearing at just the right time, there are also fragments of love.

Characters are plentiful and complex, but the funny thing about Walter Mosley's heroes and heroines is that they grow on you. Who can forget the love of Easy's life, Bonnie; his best friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander; and Easy's two adopted children, Feather and Jesus ... oh and that little yellow dog, Frenchie?

Mosley anoints each player with names like Christmas, Easter, EttaMae, Pericles, Tourmaline, Pretty and Hope. Prose written with great detail and picture-perfect street dialect lends itself to eccentric characters, never short of pronounced features and unique quirks. Random clues slowly reveal a trail of deceit and open up a can of worms that leaves everyone squirming for atonement.

Detective "Easy" Rawlins is a sleuth to be feared. Ezekiel, his real name, was first introduced in the 1990 novel, "Devil in a Blue Dress." After such an exciting introduction, one will never forget his name, steady hands or cool demeanor. He can size you up with one quick glance ... and he's always accurate. Easy is easy-on-the-eyes, smart and ruthless when necessary.

Easy is on a mission in "Blonde Faith." He's always on a mission ... for justice, revenge and forgiveness. And just as he solves one mystery, he stumbles upon another. Easy is not only a gritty detective, he's also a hero, making good on old promises and heavy death threats.

His new role as a surrogate father for Easter Dawn leads him on a search for her father and his longtime friend Christmas Black. Like a maze, each discovery leads to an even bigger obstacle, and in this game it crosses paths with lovely Faith Laneer - a link to his past and an open door to his future.

The mysterious absence of his best friend, Mouse, leads to many unsuspecting discoveries and unusual suspects. His friend, revered as the deadliest man in Los Angeles, covers his tracks well - so well, it takes Easy the length of a novel to find him.

Unfortunately, peril has no problem finding Easy. Beautiful women and danger ... two mysteries this detective will never solve.

Tonight it's just you, your booklight and one smooth detective.

Blonde Faith

By Walter MosleyFictionHardcover $25.99

Karla Mass is a content producer for McClatchy Interactive. You may contact her at kmass@mcclatchyinteractive.com

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