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Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
Set in 1948, the novel introduces Ezekiel "Easy" Porterhouse Rawlins as an unwilling amateur detective from the Watts section of Los Angeles. It presents period issues of race relations and mores as the unemployed Rawlins is hired to find a white woman who frequents jazz clubs in black districts. The novel was the first of two Mosley books to be made into a film.
A Red Death (1991)
During the mid-50s McCarthy era, Rawlins is blackmailed by the FBI into spying on a labour union organizer.
White Butterfly (1992)
The police call on Rawlins to help investigate the vicious murders of four young women--three black and one white.
Black Betty (1994)
A Little Yellow Dog (1996)
JFK is president and Easy Rawlins has a job with the Los Angeles Board of Education. No dogs are allowed on the property of the school where Easy works but Pharoah, the dog in question, belongs to Idabell Turner, a curvaceous teacher with a husband with murder on his mind. Before the day is over the teacher is gone, leaving Easy with her dog, and the handsomest corpse Easy has ever seen is found in the school garden. That night a second corpse turns up... The police believe that Easy is involved with the murders. The head of the school wants to fire him. A murderer is on the loose. And a little yellow dog plots revenge.
Gone Fishin' (1997) (the publisher is the small Black Classic Press instead of his usual W.W.Norton)
This is a prequel to the series and this is actually the first book Mosley wrote. It is set before Easy moves to LA and explains the detail Mouse murding his father. We are in 1939 Houston, Texas. A young Easy Rawlins and his friend, the dangerous Mouse Alexander, are about to take the ride of a lifetime -- into a world of voodoo, sex, revenge, and death that will both change and link their destinies forever... .
Fortunately, the book itself is worthy of the project. Written before the other Rawlins novels but never published, it puts Easy and his lethal friend Mouse back in 1939 Houston, Texas before World War II and their subsequent move to Los Angeles. The 19-year-old Easy is a recognizable but very different character from the survivor we've come to know in the later books: illiterate, grieving his absent father, scraping by on the moment-to-moment pleasures of drink and sex, the young Easy knows little of the larger world. His journey to awareness begins with a soul-changing road trip to the bayous of Pariah, Texas, where the dangerous Mouse Alexander hopes to settle a score with his hated stepfather. The young Easy, beginning to summon the courage he needs to escape the poverty and violence of his prewar, rural South environment, stands on his own without the help of the later books, but for those who know the series, this short novel opens a window into the past of a very good friend. . ..
Bad Boy Bobby Brown (1999)?
The same source as the Bright Light news below, claims that this is the title of Mosley's next Easy Rawlings book and it is due out next year.
RL's Dream (1995)
Set in New York's Greenwich Village and somewhat reminiscent of the 80s film Crossroads, this is the story of a dying former blues guitarist and friend of the legendary musician Robert (Leroy) Johnson, who is befriended by a young woman.
The Socrates Fortlow Stories (1997)
Mosley introduces Socrates Fortlow, a rough-hewn yet thoughtful ex-con who, like his Greek namesake, is prone to asking big moral questions. Having spent 27 years in an Indiana prison and now living in Watts, Socrates is trying to redeem a misspent life while avoiding his own worst tendencies. Yet he carries himself with as much dignity as any film producer living in a mansion in nearby Hollywood.
Socrates is an African-American, as were the man and woman he killed as a youngster. Yet, he preaches to other blacks that they must live their lives understanding that the unbecoming behavior of one reflects on all their brothers and sisters. And he decries the violence and drugs that infect the community like flesh-eating bacteria. He risks his safety to help a young boy struggling with his own conscience and tries to provide a measure of mercy to an old friend dying of cancer. When he attempts to help a dog run over by a callous motorist, Socrates gives in to his anger and suddenly finds himself on the verge of returning to jail. The novel was the second of two Mosley books to be made into a film.
Bright Light (1998?)
I've read that this, the next of Mosley's books 1. due out fall 1998, 2. is science fiction, and 3. wil be published by Little Brown.