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Bad Boy Brawly Brown by Walter Mosley
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Bad Boy Brawly Brown (original 2002; edition 2002)

by Walter Mosley

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478621,584 (3.59)17
Member:paugust
Title:Bad Boy Brawly Brown
Authors:Walter Mosley
Info:LITTLE, BROWN, AND COMPANY (2002), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
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Tags:Fiction

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Bad Boy Brawly Brown by Walter Mosley (2002)

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English (5)  Finnish (1)  All languages (6)
Showing 5 of 5
This is the first book by Mosley that I've read, but it won't be the last. It's an Easy Rawlings novel, exactly in the middle of the series (according to the WhackiWiki), with six books before it and six after. In this one, it's 1964, and Rawlings is working as the maintenance supervisor of the Sojourner Truth Middle School, raising two adopted children, sharing his life with an airline stewardess, and still mourning the death of his life-long friend Raymond "Mouse" Alexander in the previous year.

The story is this: Rawlings is asked by a friend to locate Brawly Brown, the son of that friend's girlfriend. Brawly allegedly hates his mother. He lived with his father, then abruptly left his father and moved in with his mother's cousin, Isolda. Busted for shoplifting a radio, he's sent to a juvenile home. Released, Brawly goes back to his father. But then, Brawly's mother says, he and his father had a violent fight, and he's on his own, and possibly running with a bad crowd.

Rawlings's searching takes him first to the home of Brawly's aunt, which is the scene of a recent, bloody murder. No Isolda there. As police arrive at the front door, he escapes out the back. Shortly thereafter, he attends a meeting of an urban activist group—Brawly may be a member—that's raided by police. Again he escapes, but in doing so, meets the group's leadership (though not Brawly). Not long afterwards, he's approached at his home by a seedy-looking detective who has photos of him taken at the meeting, in the moments before the raid. The detective knows a great deal about Rawlings, and recruits him to spy on the group for the police. While he declines the offer, he does keep the detective's phone number. It comes in handy before long.

The search progresses, with Rawlings meeting more and more people, few of whom take him at his word that he's just looking for the son of a friend, with the goal of keeping the kid out of trouble.

And so it goes, with another murder, additional mayhem, and, of course, obligatory surprises. A fun read.

I picked this book for the challenge simply because I had it. At a very recent library book sale (Buy a bag of books for $5!), I put this book in my bag because I'd heard of Mosley, but had never read anything by him. Now I have. And I'll keep an eye for Mosley books in the future.
  weird_O | May 21, 2015 |
This novel had much of the smooth-street charm that I remember from others in this series. Given the many changes in Easy’s life, it was a pleasure to see him grow and transition into responsible fatherhood. Still, to my delight Easy hasn’t lost his ability to blend into the streets and return to his “doing favors/street-sleuth” persona. These two aspects of his character are needed to add realism to the story and to fit within the social context of the novel.

Speaking of context, although I wasn’t completely blown away by this mystery’s storyline, I understood that the plot development was used as a device to demonstrate the socio-economic changes occurring in 1960’s Los Angeles. Easy’s search for Brawly allows him (and by extension the reader) to traverse various aspects of the Civil Rights Movement including: the growth of local entrepreneurial pursuits, changes among social hierarchies within Easy’s community and increasing turmoil between law enforcement agencies and activist groups.

As with other novels in this series Mosley continues to develop the overall Easy Rawlins story as well. Readers are left with unresolved feelings about the death of Easy’s friend Mouse and are somewhat haunted by him throughout the story. Due to this haunting I am left educated, entertained and anticipating answers to questions that will hopefully be revealed in the next book in the series, Six Easy Pieces.

If you are new to this series I suggest that you start with Devil in a Blue Dress, the first book in this series. Be forewarned, you will not be able to stop with just one book. These mysteries are addictive!

For more, visit my blog, Honey Lemon Tea. http://honeylemontea.com/2014/01/06/book-review-bad-boy-brawly-brown-by-walter-m... ( )
  honeylemontea | Jan 8, 2014 |
Easy Rawlins is back, this time without without the help of his dangerous friend Mouse. Great sixties atmosphere, an intricate but believable plot, a surprising but satisfactory resolution of Easy's debt of friendship. I found this one of the best mysteries I've read in a while. I'm surprised the ratings aren't higher. ( )
  jrtanworth | May 19, 2011 |
Somewhat unmemorable, as I barely remember any of it. It seemed good enough at the time though, if a little uneven in tone, lurching between politcial and domestic naratives without ever really fusing the two. ( )
  frank_oconnor | Jul 23, 2008 |
I found this novel to be entirely forgettable. I may not be a good source of an opinion, however, because I am unfamiliar with this genre, and perhaps I do not like the genre. ( )
  gwendolyndawson | Mar 27, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
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For Leroy Mosley
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Mouse is dead.
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Finnish edition of Bad Boy Brawly Brown
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316073016, Hardcover)

Racial tensions and America's civil rights movement have previously figured into Walter Mosley's series about sometimes-sleuth Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. But Bad Boy Brawly Brown turns what had been a background element into compelling surface tension. The year is 1964, and though Easy seems settled into honest work as a Los Angeles custodian, he's having other problems--notably, his adopted son's wish to quit school and lingering remorse over the death (in A Little Yellow Dog) of his homicidal crony, Raymond "Mouse" Alexander. Yet he remains willing to do "favors" for folks in need. So, when Alva Torres comes to him, worried that her son, Brawly Brown, will get into trouble running with black revolutionaries, Easy agrees to find the young man and "somehow ... get him back home." His first day on the job, however, Rawlins stumbles across Alva's ex-husband--murdered--and he's soon dodging police, trying to connect a black activist's demise to a weapons cache, and exposing years of betrayal that have made Brawly an ideal pawn in disastrous plans.

Mosley's portrayal of L.A.'s mid-20th-century racial divide is far from simplistic, with winners and sinners on both sides. He also does a better-than-usual job here of plot pacing, with less need to rush a solution at the end. But it is Easy Rawlins's evolution that's most intriguing in Brawly Brown. A man determined to curb his violent and distrustful tendencies, Easy finds himself, at 44, having finally come to peace with his life, just when the peace around him is at such tremendous risk. --J. Kingston Pierce

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:02:40 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Trying to locate a family friend who has become involved with a radical resistance group, Easy Rawlins stumbles onto a murder scene only to be named a suspect, and he finds himself exploring a world of betrayal, trying to stay alive.

(summary from another edition)

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