Devil in a Blue Dress
Simon and Schuster.
It's 1948, and Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins is a black war veteran drinking in his buddy's bar, wondering how he's going to make his next mortgage payment. Enter vicious greaseball De Witt Albright, a creepy white man par excellence who has an ostensibly simple request: find the lovely miss Daphne Monet, a blonde with a penchant for black men. Against his better judgment, Easy acquiesces, and mayhem ensues.
How we have managed to overlook Walter Mosley until this year, we have no idea; although in retrospect the oversight seems almost criminal (no pun intended). Like the best of his American noir predecessors, he's a master creator of terse tough men who understand the laws of the street, but in his capable hands the crime novel becomes something far more than a thriller. Mosley's unerring dissections of race and class lend a depth to his work that we'd be hard-pressed to find in any other contemporary crime writer--or any other writer, for that matter. Devil in a Blue Dress is a masterwork, and Mosley's magnificent depictions of 1940s Los Angeles's sleazy underbelly more than give our beloved Chandler a run for his money. We can't wait to get our hot little hands on everything Mosley's ever written.