1961: For most black Americans, these were times of hope. For former P.I. Easy Rawlins, Los Angeles's mean streets were never meaner...or more deadly. Ordinarily, Easy would have thrown the two bills in the sleazy shamus' face -- the white man who wanted him to find the notorious Black Betty, an ebony siren whose talent for all things rich and male took her from Houston's Fifth Ward to Beverly Hills. There was too much Easy wasn't being told, but he couldn't resist the prospect of seeing Betty again, even if it killed him....
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful: Dead Heat, May 24, 2003 Reviewer: Jim Paris from Los Angeles, CA USA Raymond Chandler made the definitive statement about L.A.'s Santa Ana Winds at the beginning of his short story "Red Wind." In Easy Rawlins' L.A., the hot, dry winds that fill the lungs with cactus dust and make the skin peel around the fingernails never seem to stop. Easy is in search of an erotic dream woman from his childhood who is being sought by one of those rich white families who have more skeletons than clothes in their closets. Around the same time, the very dangerous Raymond "Mouse" Alexander is released from the pen; and Easy's attempt to make a killing in the real estate market run up against a brick wall. There are plot threads aplenty, and enough characters to fill a passenger liner. Mosley is too good a writer to leave any threads untied, but I do get lost at times with some of the characters. One bad dude is not heard from for a hundred pages when he commits a particularly heinous murder at the very end. "Oh, yeah, wasn't he the guy that ...?" Sometimes, I would have welcomed the list of characters, complete with nicknames, that occasionally accompanies an 800-page Russian novel. What makes this a minor complaint is that Mosley has such a great sense of place and so much feeling for his characters. We don't meet the character he calls "Black Betty" until the end of the novel, but we keep seeing vignettes from Easy's past that keep building up the suspense, and any expectations are more than fulfilled by an ending that is bloodier than the last act of Hamlet. --This text refers to the Paperback edition