REVIEW OF WALTER MOSLEY'S
BAD BOY BRAWLY BROWN
By Denise Baton
Walter Mosley’s re-entry into the sphere of great mystery writing is successful. BAD BOY BRAWLY BROWN is filled with old friends and enemies. Ezekial Rawlin’s, Walter Mosley’s famed character of DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS, A RED DEATH, WHITE BUTTERFLY, BLACK BETTY, A LITTLE DOG and GONE FISHIN’ is back on the scene. This time, without the help of his best bud ever, Mouse Alexander. Somehow Easy moves through the streets with only the whispering ghost of Mouse in his mind. If you have never read Walter Mosley, get ready for his handsomely detailed portrait of life in Watts during the sixties. Mosley uses his characters and their dialogue to create an authenticity of a time and culture that had everything to do with the people. Ezekial Rawlins is a seemingly simple guy holding down a management position as top janitor. Like always he gets his licks in with the top brass. But this time, Mosley’s story is about being there for an old friend who is having some trouble with step-son, Bad Boy Brawly Brown. As a favor, Easy agrees to delve into a revolutionary plot in hopes of saving the big kid from a deadly fate. Let’s just say that this revolutionary group is not all it’s cracked up to be. On this peculiar case, Easy faces not only personal, but also moral and social ramifications. He finds out that Brawly’s fervent revolutionary group is actually manipulated by financial and political interests. These groups, both black and white, couldn’t care less about the future of the black youths or Watts or anybody else for that matter. And there is a particularly exquisite woman who does especially vile things. In BAD BOY BRAWLY BROWN, Easy doesn’t jump into bed with anyone except for the accusingly beautiful and sweetly drawn character, Bonnie, his new woman. This lady not only helps him raise his adopted kids but keeps Easy sane, which is no easy feat. The outcome of this story was shocking, to say the least, and lives up to Mosley’s reputation as one of the finest mystery writers of our time.
In the end my question is, “Can Mouse really be dead?” Easy has yet to fully accept it and is still quite traumatized by the feeling that he should have done something to save his friend’s life. Since there was never a funeral and some hoodoo lady took off with the body I’m hoping Mouse will be back in the next Ezekial Rawlins mystery.