The novel is an important contribution to African American and ethnic detective fiction in that it focuses on a Black protagonist who falls into the role of detective but, by the series end, has made this profession and the identity that often comes along with it his own. A few things of note in the text include Easy's use of African American English, and the emergence of "the Voice," an inner voice which advises Easy during particularly stressful or dangerous situations. Literary scholars of ethnic detective fiction have explored these qualities of the text in conjunction with genre study approaches and gender identity approaches.
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