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 the profession and the identity that often comes along with it both his own. Easy's use of African-American English and the emergence of "the Voice," an inner voice that advises Easy during particularly stressful or dangerous situations, are noteworthy. Literary scholars of ethnic detective fiction have explored the qualities in conjunction with genre study approaches and gender identity approaches.
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