CINNAMON KISS
Walter Mosley

 


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Weidenfeld & Nicolson, December 2005
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

CINNAMON KISS is set in San Francisco during 1967, the summer of love when the hippie movement was at its height. Easy Rawlins is desperate for money and contemplating carrying out an armed robbery. He has been driven to this point because his adopted daughter, Feather, needs an expensive medical treatment to save her life - more than Easy can earn or borrow in time. While he contemplates his options, he accepts work from an anonymous boss resulting in Easy travelling from L.A. to San Francisco in search of missing bonds and papers. They are possibly in the hands of Philomena Cargill, aka Cinnamon. Easy soon realizes there is much more going on than he is being told about this job, but his financial need overcomes all concerns. He plunges into the unfamiliar hippie territory, learning to smoke pot, enjoy free love, and solve this case, which is the most macabre murder yet in the series.

This is the tenth Easy Rawlings book, and I strongly suspect that the ending has set up the very likely chance for another sequel . Walter Mosley's stories are written to a familiar pattern, but his characters are strong and believable. In all his novels Mosley arranges plots that not only ask "whodunit?" but also challenge conservative assumptions of what is considered right and wrong, good and evil. I did not find this as powerful as some of his previous titles. However, the questions raised in this novel are very thought provoking. Is it right to charge so much for life-saving medical care? Is saving the life of his daughter Feather justification for an armed robbery or for taking a job that could possibly cover up evidence of a crime? Can sexual infidelity be justified by an ethical purpose and should it be forgiven for that reason? All of Mosley's books trigger soul searching for questions that can be debated for years, and no satisfactory answer, or solution, arrived at. As his previous books, CINNAMON KISS can be read as a standalone. It is not necessary to read the stories in sequence, although I would recommend you try and read DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS if you can, as this is the first and gives the initial background information to the complex character called Easy Rawlings.

December 2005

 

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