Easy Rawlins is an army veteran in 1948 who was recently let go from his job and is wondering how he will make his mortgage payments. Joppy, the bar owner, introduces Easy to DeWitt Atkins, a white man who puts Easy on edge but is willing to offer him a lot of money to find a woman. After some initial qualms, Easy takes on the job and finds himself embroiled in a murder case after a woman he questions turns up dead a couple of days later. Things grow ever more complicated the more he learns about the woman he was hired to find and the man who wants to find her.
This is a great hard-boiled mystery. By the end (not really a spoiler, promise) he has become confident in his detecting abilities and decided to be a sort of private investigator, setting the stage for the thirteen books that follow. The book does not shy away from the ugly parts of 1940s society. It confronts racism and shows what Easy has to go through to survive, being threatened by both police and white teenagers. If you enjoy mysteries with likable characters, particularly set in 1940s Hollywood, then you will enjoy Devil in a Blue Dress and the rest of the Easy Rawlins series.
Review by Jessica A.