Mosley’s celebrated 1990 novel introduces readers to Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, a World War II veteran who turns to detective work to make a living. Rooted in Watts, a historically African American neighborhood of Los Angeles, the story reinvigorated the hard-boiled mystery genre, populating it with rarely seen nonwhite characters. The book’s success led to a bestselling series of Easy Rawlins mysteries that follow the character into the 1960s (and to a 1995 film adaptation of Devil in a Blue Dress, directed by Carl Franklin and starring Denzel Washington).
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