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Little Scarlet (2004)

by Walter Mosley

Series: Easy Rawlins (9)

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7521423,245 (3.79)39
It is 1965, and the devastating Watts riots are ravaging Los Angeles. A white man attempts to escape from a mob by running into a nearby apartment building. A few days later he is accused of killing a woman known as Little Scarlet who is found dead in the building. But when Easy Rawlins starts to investigate, he suspects the killer to be someone else-someone whose rage is racially motivated and as deep as his passion. For those who always wanted to read Walter Mosley, here is a novel they've been waiting for: an unstoppably dramatic mystery.… (more)
  1. 00
    If He Hollers Let Him Go by Chester Himes (tangentialine)
    tangentialine: this takes place during the watts riots of 1965 in L.A. same sense of intolerable tension, same cool bravado on the part of the protagonist, same racial issues, and both great books.
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» See also 39 mentions

English (13)  Spanish (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
“If everybody in the world despises you and hates you, sees your features as ugly and simian, makes jokes about your ways of talking, calls you stupid and beneath contempt; if you have no history, no heroes, and no future where a hero might lead, then you might begin to hate yourself.... And then one hot summer's night you just erupt and go burning and shooting and nobody seems to know why.”
  taurus27 | Oct 18, 2021 |
It's August of 1965 and Easy is fighting to keep himself undercontrol while rage and hate and property burn in Watts. He refuses the hand of white detective Melvin Suggs when Suggs approaches him for help on a special case for the LAPD "that needs solving outside of the public eye." A white man has been pulled from his car and has been badly beaten. He is suspected of brutally murdering a young black woman, Nola (Little Scarlet) Payne. The only witness, Geneva Landry, has been taken into custody to keep a tight lid on the case.
Easy takes on the case not for Suggs and the LAPD but for the people he cares about. Along to way to solving it Easy comes to terms with Detective Suggs and a tenuous friendship develops.
  RonWelton | Apr 7, 2021 |
Easy is asked to investigate possible murder of black woman by white man during Watts riots, discovers black serial killer
  ritaer | Apr 25, 2020 |
I had begun reading Richard Wright's Native Son, and decided it was too depressing and that I needed a respite. Interesting to pick this book up. It also deals with the corrosive effects that racism has on both the black and white communities.

This book is set during the time of the LA riots in the summer of 1965 (I'd thought the riots were 1966, which, I guess, shows how well I remembered them). Anyway, the protagonist is an African American who doesn't trust the white community in the least. Someone, perhaps a white man, had murdered a black woman and the cops could care less. They didn't even want to admit there had been a murder, lest the riots continue. So Easy Rawlins works on the problem until he comes to a solution.

I had read another "Easy Rawlins" book once before, but hadn't remembered it to have quite so much material on the issues of racism. I had remembered it as showing life through the lens of an African American, but not as showing how corrosively white racism poisoned the lives of both blacks and whites. It's interesting that some half-century removed from the 1965 race riots, we, as a society, still use racism as a wedge to separate people for political, i.e. pecuniary, gain.

( )
  lgpiper | Jun 21, 2019 |
Easy Rawlins goes looking for a serial killer in the middle of the 1965 Watts riot. black women are dying and nobody seems to care. he takes on a temporary partner, who is white, to solve the case. "He was a cop by trade and I was a criminal by color. But there we were." and he's thinking about the experience of blacks in a white world, the harsh reality of every chance encounter, identity and stereotypes shifting just a little but not enough at a moment when the ground is suddenly changing beneath their feet. in one of his best mysteries, Mosley makes a powerful clear statement about fear and understanding in two worlds set against each other. ( )
  macha | Aug 30, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Mosley juggles the disparate elements of his tale masterfully, avoiding the convoluted plotting that has occasionally made some of his other work a tough slog.
 
"Little Scarlet" — most of the Easy Rawlins books, like "Devil in a Blue Dress," have colors in their titles — does a thoughtful, effective job of making that sense of racial outrage pivotal to its murder plot. As he did most recently in the non-Rawlins novel "The Man in My Basement," Mr. Mosley is able to show how extreme racial polarities can lead to situations that are in no way black and white.
 
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The morning air still smelled of smoke.
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It is 1965, and the devastating Watts riots are ravaging Los Angeles. A white man attempts to escape from a mob by running into a nearby apartment building. A few days later he is accused of killing a woman known as Little Scarlet who is found dead in the building. But when Easy Rawlins starts to investigate, he suspects the killer to be someone else-someone whose rage is racially motivated and as deep as his passion. For those who always wanted to read Walter Mosley, here is a novel they've been waiting for: an unstoppably dramatic mystery.

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Hachette Book Group

3 editions of this book were published by Hachette Book Group.

Editions: 0446612715, 1586216600, 0446198242

 

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