Easy Rawlins is just to do a favour for an old friend while keeping on the right side of the law without being swallowed up by lies fed to him by a corrupt arm of the LAPD. I found the language quite hard to get to grips with at first, but after a while it gives a strong sense of Easy's life as a black man in 1960's LA.
'As far as I'm concerned, Brawly and me are innocent bystanders,' I said. 'Just two black men in the wrong place at the wrong time. If I see something I think you need to know, I'll tell you about it. I won't be a rat for you but if we have some interest in common, I might let something drop in your lap.'
'I need more convincing than that,' Lakeland said.
'You won't be gettin' it from me, man. Listen, if I heard that there's going to be some ambush or bombin', I'd tell you in a minute, especially if innocent black people are about to get killed. All I'm askin' you for is Brawly.'
Lakeland let his head loll to the side, to take me in from another angle.'
'We could pay you ...'
'You could .... But I'm here for only one reason, to get Brawly home.'