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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

White Butterfly (Easy Rawlins Mysteries) - Walter Mosley My friends, this is why I review. Because some day, in a mere ten years, I'm going to innocently pick up this book and think, "hey, I should give this a try." About twenty pages in, I realized I had already read White Butterfly. I peeked at the resolution, and sure enough, I was right. Although, quite honestly, I'm glad of the chance to read it again, to linger on Mosley's language and characters. This was prickly period perfection.White Butterfly is set in a middle chapter in Easy's life; his little house is now filled with a wife, Regina, and new baby, Edna. Little Jesus is now living with them, still silent, but with growing independence. It all starts when one of L.A.'s few black detectives drops by Easy's house looking for help in a case where black female bar girls are being murdered: "Quinten was a brown man but there was a lot of red under the skin. It was almost as if he were rage-colored."The case has him between a rock and a hard spot: "Quinten had the weight of the whole community on his shoulders. The black people didn't like him because he talked like a white man and he had a white man's job. The other policemen kept at a distance too. Some maniac was killing Negro women and Quinten was all alone."Easy is allowed to defer until a white woman is killed, and heavy political pressure comes to bear. A dual plot centers on both his home emotional life and the search for the serial killer. There's a side consequence of the murders when it comes to Easy's property. The serial killer has women scared, and some are moving in together. Easy's considering giving some women that want to room together a break on the rent: "Mofass shook his head sadly and slow. He couldn't take a deep breath but he felt sorry for me. How could I be so stupid and not bleed the whole world for a dollar and some change?"Characterization shines, as does the emotional tone of the book. Mosley has the perfect balance between detail and action. Description is better balanced in the overall scope of the book than in the The Red Death. L.A. is showcased in period colors, as Easy visits a strip club, a rooming house and a bordello. One of the most tension-laden visits involves visiting a white family--Mosley subtly conveys an sense of charged atmosphere and potential for disaster without sliding into diatribe. The secondary plot was also well done, with the emotional dynamic between Easy and Regina conveying the bewilderment, love and alienation as a relationship changes.As Easy investigates, we meet some interesting characters:"One door I passed revealed a man fully dressed in an antique zoot suit and a white ten-gallon hat. As I passed by we regarded each other as two wary lizards might stare as they slithered across some barren stone."At a rooming house, we're introduced to a horn player, Lips McGee:"He'd stand straight and tall and play that horn as if every bit of his soul could be concentrated through a silver pipe. Sweat shone across his wide forehead and his eyes became shiny slits. When Lips hit the high notes he made that horn sound like a woman who was where she wanted to be when she was in love with you."As an aside, I usually don't pay much attention to the book art, but the art on the hardcover edition is wonderful, a colorful cross between Juan Gris that is wall-print worthy.After [b:A Red Death|84548|A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)|Walter Mosley|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1171055721s/84548.jpg|986123], I had my doubts about reading Mosley again. No concerns here. Cross posted at my book blog, http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.