Published by Doubleday on September 23, 2014
Easy Rawlins has lost interest in being a private detective (not surprising, given his loss of interest in life that recent novels chronicle) but his daughter has a chance to go to an expensive private school so he can't turn down a lucrative offer to investigate the disappearance and potential kidnapping of Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a prominent weapons manufacturer. The mayor and the chief of police want Rawlins on the case and give him little opportunity to turn it down despite Easy's uneasy feeling about it. They need Rawlins because he's black. They believe his race will give him access to Bob Mantle, a black boxer-turned-revolutionary who has been seen with Rosemary in Los Angeles.
There are, of course, additional complications to the assignment that become apparent only after Easy's work is well underway. Patty Hearst echoes in the story, as do other events from the time in which the novel is set. Along the way Easy does a favor for his cop friend, Melvin Suggs, who is experiencing difficulties of his own. Several other series regulars return in small supporting roles.
Walter Mosely always tells a good story. This isn't the most compelling plot in the Easy Rawlins series but it is credible and entertaining. There are so many other things to like about a Mosely novel, however, that the plot often takes a back seat. Easy always peppers his first-person narrative with observations about the state of the nation and the changing world, a world that cannot change fast enough to suit him. As always, Easy's observations of racial injustice are pointed and personal. Easy is always a half step away from being beaten, murdered, or jailed because of his skin color. In his world, race is more likely than guilt or innocence to determine who will be arrested and punished.
At the same time, Rose Gold, like the other novels in the Easy Rawlins series, emphasizes the importance of family and friendships as a refuge from racism. Easy is renewed and restored by the insights he gains during his investigation, a welcome change from the darkness he's experienced in the last couple of novels. Even without the engaging characters, poignant moments, and sharp prose, Easy's renewal would be reason enough for an Easy Rawlins fan -- which I am -- to embrace Rose Gold.