Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Michael Wiley

Michael Wiley’s most recent novel is Monument Road, about an exonerated death-row inmate investigating the crime that sent him to prison. He also writes the Daniel Turner Thriller series (Blue Avenue, Second Skin, Black Hammock) and the Shamus Award-winning Joe Kozmarski Private Detective series (A Bad Night’s Sleep, The Bad Kitty Lounge, Last Striptease).

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Wiley's reply:
Walter Mosley’s Devil in a Blue Dress is as fresh and powerful today as when it first was published in 1990. Set in 1948 Los Angeles, it also speaks straight to our current American moment. I’ve just reread it for the fourth time.

The first of Mosley’s Easy Rawlins novels—and the winner of the 1990 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel—Devil at once operates within and upends the detective fiction genre. Mosley knows and loves his Raymond Chandler, but Easy Rawlins is no Philip Marlowe. He’s an African-American WWII vet, brutalized by the justice system where Marlowe gets his training. In the opening line of the novel, Easy says, “I was surprised to see a white man walk into Joppy’s bar,” and the book remains to the end a story of black and white ... and also of noir and California sunshine ... and sometimes of devilish blue and ruby red ... and, finally, of a conflicted color we might call blackwhite.

As for the story, it’s a blast. This is a classic missing-person novel—the missing person being the chameleon-like Daphne Monet—but, as in some of the best tales of this kind, the main person Easy seems to find in the closing pages is himself. There’s gunplay. There’s crackling dialogue. In the music of this book, not a note misses. Devil in a Blue Dress is among the great ones.
Learn more about the book and author at Michael Wiley's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Last Striptease.

My Book, The Movie: The Last Striptease.

The Page 69 Test: A Bad Night's Sleep.

--Marshal Zeringue