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Book review: <i>Bad Boy Brawly Brown</i> by Walter Mosley

When a man has lived the way Easy Rawlins has—flirting with the wrong side of the law his whole life (or at least in the six previous Easy Rawlins books)—it’s time for him to settle down. He has responsibilities: Bonnie, his beautiful girlfriend. Jesus and Feather, his adopted kids. Even Frenchie, Feather’s little yellow dog who hates him, is a kind of responsibility. He has a good job and a good home and his best friend’s death on his conscience. And... Walter Mosley’s done it again.

The story

Bad Boy Brawly Brown is the seventh book in the Easy Rawlins series and Easy is back with a vengeance over a rollicking 338 pages. When his old friend John rings him for help, Easy knows that something’s wrong. But when John’s girlfriend Alva asks Easy to find her son, Brawly, because she’s worried he’s fallen in with bad company, Easy has no idea of the mess he’s getting into. In a tangled mess of beautiful women, old acquaintances, kids playing at revolution, secret police, informants, and a crime in the making, Easy has to battle with staying at work, keeping promises to his kids, trying to keep Jesus in school, and trying to keep the spectre of Mouse at bay.

The style

Walter Mosley is one of the best authors I have read lately, and I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in my top ten authors of all time list. His writing is like drinking a really good cup of coffee; it’s rich, satisfying, and unfolds on your tastebuds gently letting you know the whole time that you’re really enjoying the experience. Bad Boy Brawly Brown is written in third person limited. Mosley’s style is defining in that he manages to say a lot with very little. His economy with words is a rare talent indeed, and contributes enormously to defining his characters in their context. This technique produces complete characters. No one is two dimensional in this story—everybody has a history, a personality, an agenda... and all of Easy’s interactions are written with a simplicity and an honesty that invokes feeling in the reader. Bad Boy Brawly Brown is fast-paced with a realistic sense of time—any modern author aspiring to produce detective or crime fiction would do well to take a leaf out of Mosley’s book.

Who is this book for?

I was lent an early Easy Rawlins novel about a year ago—now I’m a complete addict. Don’t bother trying to put down a Walter Mosley book period! And be prepared to finish the whole thing in less than a day. Make sure you have that day free so that you don’t neglect other things you’re supposed to be doing—because you will if you don’t. Walter Mosley wraps you up in Easy’s life and you ride along with him until the very end, and then, when you reach the end, you just want it all to keep on going. Bad Boy Brawly Brown is an adventure worth taking for anyone.

Buy it. Make a gift of it. Borrow it. You won’t regret it.

If you like this book, you would also like…

One of Walter Mosley’s other books (he has twenty five or so). Raymond Chandler. Kinky Friedman (in a totally different way). It’s gritty, it’s urban, it’s good, honest fiction. I can’t really think of many authors good enough to be up there with Mosley.

In short

Title Bad Boy Brawly Brown
Author Walter Mosley
Publisher Warner Books
ISBN 0446612316
Year 2003
Pages 338
Genre(s) Contemporary literature, Detective fiction, Hardboiled
Review Type: