One of the first things anyone knew about Bill Clinton was that his favorite mystery author was Walter Mosley, and his favorite Mosley character was Southern black detective Ezekiel "Easy" Rawlins. This time out, Easy has been given a prequel: a novel revealing the formative experience of his early life. That experience, occurring when Easy was just 19, involved his old friend Mouse (also a character in later books), a car only Easy could drive, and the aptly named backwater Texas town of Pariah. Roped into chauffeuring Mouse out to his boyhood home so Mouse can retrieve some money he says his stepfather owes him, Easy finds a world steeped in old family rivalries and voodoo, where sex and death are almost inextricably linked. Sickened both literally and metaphorically by what he finds in Pariah, Easy ultimately turns from extortion to education — becoming in the process the man who spawned a series of books. The First Fan might read Gone Fishin' and take note.