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To live and die in LA's Watts riots

By unknown | Jan 23, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Book: Little Scarlet

Book: Little Scarlet

Author: Walter Mosley

Publisher: Orion

Reviewer: Nthabisang Moreosele

This gem of a book is available at Exclusive Books' summer sale, which starts on Thursday.

It is 1965 and the aftermath of the Watts riots that eventually led to victory for the Civil Rights Movement in the US.

Mosley's offbeat sleuth, Easy Rawlins, is on the prowl again, this time at the behest of the enemy, the white police force of Los Angeles, who want to prevent more looting, burning and killing.

A black woman has been killed, apparently by a white man she rescued from a black, blood-crazed mob.

As Easy investigates the posh side of town and the dank alleys of Watts, the twists and turns of the investigation reveal that a serial killer has been busy for several years.

There are snippets about Easy's friend, Mouse - the cold- blooded killer who acts as Easy's backup.

Mouse's love problems threaten their friendship until Easy takes care of them.

The investigation reveals the social and economic oppression of African-Americans and their precarious perch in US society. Whites treated them like trash and they had no means to override that view or better their status.

The riots were at once an eruption of frustration, a revolution, but also a symptom of hopelessness as the riots petered out without any gain or victory. It becomes clear that though blacks need the whites and their goodwill, the whites do not acknowledge them. Their interaction is based on fear, hatred and misunderstanding.


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