When a white man turns up with a confused story about a violent incident on a camping trip, Mosley’s African-American private eye, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins, is understandably reluctant to take the case; the client is a shell-shocked Vietnam vet who went to the aid of a white woman, getting into a fight with a black man who has since disappeared. Rawlins’s sympathy for a fellow ex-soldier overrides his instincts, plunging him into confrontations with mobsters, pimps and racist cops in this witty, fast-paced novel.
Blood Grove opens in 1969 with a traumatised soldier, just back from Vietnam, enlisting his help to discover whether or not he did in fact stab a black man as he tried to rescue a damsel in distress. The damsel, naturally enough, turns out to be a very foxy femme fatale. Period and place (Los Angeles) are described with economy and wit. The casual racism of the police and the public is shocking — as is the bloody climax.