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A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Novel (2) (Easy…

A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Novel (2) (Easy Rawlins Mystery) (original 1991; edition 2002)

by Walter Mosley (Author)

Series: Easy Rawlins (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8691920,962 (3.68)50
It's 1953 in Red-baiting, blacklisting Los Angeles, a moral tar pit ready to swallow Easy Rawlins. Easy is out of "the hurting business" and into the housing (and favor) business when a racist IRS agent nails him for tax evasion. Special Agent Darryl T. Craxton, FBI, offers to bail him out if he agrees to infiltrate the First American Baptist Church and spy on alleged communist organizer Chaim Wenzler. That's when the murders begin....… (more)
Title:A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Novel (2) (Easy Rawlins Mystery)
Authors:Walter Mosley (Author)
Info:Washington Square Press (2002), 312 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:mystery-action, read

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A Red Death by Walter Mosley (1991)


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English (17)  Spanish (2)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
It's been five years since Ezekiel (Easy) Rawlins began his informal detective business, and he has amassed two apartments in addition to his small home. He now works as the cleaner/maintenance man and pays Mofass to collect the rent.
Easy "had a reputation for fairness and the strength of (his) convictions among the poor." Unfortunately, his reputation is not held by the IRS who are demanding an accounting for his wealth which, since it was all garnered under the table, will pose a difficulty, or, as Mofass says, "They got you by the nuts, Mr. Rawlins,"
Easy's life is made more difficult when Etta, wife of Raymond (Mouse) Alexander, Easy's violent, murderous friend moves with her son LeMarque uninvited into Easy's home. He finds an apartment for Etta and LeMarqe to avoid being killed by Mouse. Then he meets with IRS Agent Lawrence to face his tax difficulties. He goes to the meet armed and prepared to murder the IRS agent but is met there by FBI agent Craxton who offers to solve his tax problems if he gets close to Caim Wenzler, a union organizer, and inform on him. Wenzler's current associate, Lavender, has gone missing, and Craxton also wishes Rawlins to find Lavender so he can be questioned. Easy does not like nor trust Craxton, but he sees no alternative and agrees.
What ensues is tangled, usually violent, and always surprising. It ends with Easy without friends and a woman but with a step-son, who, though mute, loves him.
  RonWelton | Mar 30, 2021 |
Excellent mystery and great historical fiction. Even though the book is grittier than I usually care for, it didn't bother me in this one the way it so often does. Maybe it is because though Easy isn't exactly a law-abiding citizen all the time, he does have a conscience and doesn't go out of his way to look for trouble, the way so many of the criminal 'protagonists' in noir novels seem to do.

I found the parts about Craxton looking for dirt on Jewish labor organizer (and concentration camp survivor) Chaim Wenzler particularly fascinating. Though Hoover's name is never mentioned, I could sense his shadow behind Craxton. ( )
  leslie.98 | Feb 6, 2021 |
It seems that the IRS are wondering why Easy Rawlings seems to own property. He has never appeared to have had enough income to justify his buying the property. An IRS agent, Reginald Lawrence, is threatening to throw Easy in jail muy pronto, unless Easy can come up with proper documentation, documentation that Easy doesn’t actually have. In reality, Easy pretends someone else owns the properties, and that he’s just a janitor.

But, before the IRS agent can get too far, the FBI grabs Easy and says they will delay the IRS audit if he’ll work for them, trying to uncover the perfidy of a den of Reds...or something. It seems they’re interested in a Jewish survivor from the German death camps who is preaching Socialism. It wasn't necessarily the Russian version of Marxist/Leninism, but in the 1950s, many in America couldn’t tell the difference. Actually they can’t now, given that many pretend that Bernie Sanders is the second coming of Stalin.

Whatever, Chaim Wenzler is working with an African-American church and Easy becomes the guy’s driver on various acts of charity, mostly delivering clothes to needy folks and the like. Easy and Chaim become friends and Easy is hard pressed to see his way to turn the guy in. But he investigates here and there and finds out things, some folks end up mysteriously dead, Easy is shot at, and so forth. Pretty typical Easy Rawlings, but a pretty GoodRead all in all. ( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
1950s Los Angeles - Easy Rollins is living an American dream of a sort. He is buying his own home, owns some rental property and life is semi-simple for the moment. But things take a sudden and deadly change.

Seems a tax man has taken an interest in Easy and his financial set-up. To all appearances, Easy is just the maintenance man on the apartment building, but truth be told, he is the owner...it just doesn't show on paper or anywhere else. Some how the tax man has found out and is putting the pressure on Easy to do some spy work.

Where did the tax man get his info? And why is one of his tenants found dead in her apartment in a suicide-by-hanging set up? And why the sudden interest by an FBI man in Easy and his tax problem? This is not the time to have these troubles. This is in the era of blacklisting, Red-baiting and communist hunting; things that tie in with Easy's new problems.

To add to this, Etta, a woman from Easy's past shows up at his door. Easy still has strong feelings for her, but he knows he needs to keep them in check. She is Mouse's woman and the mother of Mouse's son. Mouse is an old friend of Easy's, but he can also turn deadly at the drop of a hat...and he is possessive as all get out.

Easy is to spy on Chaim Wenzler, a suspected union organizer who volunteers at the First African Baptist Church. Not an simple task as Easy knows a little about some of the church members and finds out some interesting and deadly more things as he is investigating. He is also trying to find out what it is that the tax man is scamming and what his part is in all this.

Action, character development, blood, bullets and fists, plus a peek back in time to earlier in Easy's life total up to an interesting and fast paced read. ( )
  ChazziFrazz | Nov 3, 2018 |
I would have rated it higher but honestly by the end of the book I could care less about Easy's sex life. The mystery was good but the sex scenes really got in the way of the story for me, I like well written sex as much as the next person but when you start noticing how often it is in the story--problem. ( )
  CSDaley | Mar 28, 2018 |
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It's 1953 in Red-baiting, blacklisting Los Angeles, a moral tar pit ready to swallow Easy Rawlins. Easy is out of "the hurting business" and into the housing (and favor) business when a racist IRS agent nails him for tax evasion. Special Agent Darryl T. Craxton, FBI, offers to bail him out if he agrees to infiltrate the First American Baptist Church and spy on alleged communist organizer Chaim Wenzler. That's when the murders begin....

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