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BookRiot’s 8 of the Best Private Detectives in Mystery Series

Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)

EASY RAWLINS

Ezekiel “Easy” Porterhouse Rawlins is an African American World War II veteran turned private detective living in Los Angeles. Starting with author Walter Mosley’s first novel about the detective, Devil in a Blue Dress, the series follows Rawlins as he investigates crimes and navigates the social injustices and race politics of America in the 1940s–’60s. Easy falls into unlicensed private detective work after losing his job at a defense plant. And unlike some other detectives on this list, as an amateur African American private detective, Rawlins is keen to avoid intervention of the police at all costs. In total, Mosley has written 14 novels about the detective, the most recent one being Charcoal Joe in 2016.

(via BookRiot)

Publishers Weekly Review: Elements of Fiction

Elements of Fiction

Walter Mosley. Grove, $23 (128p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4763-9

Drawing on a prolific and successful crime fiction career, Mosley (John Woman) returns to elucidating the author’s craft, after 2007’s This Year You Write Your Novel, in this compact but insight-rich monograph. He addresses plot structure, character development, authorial voice, and the journey from a blank page, the would-be writer’s “first impediment and biggest obstacle,” to the final stage of “putting it all together.” Along the way, Mosley addresses other issues, such as the writer’s sensation of a “loss of control in the face of his or her own story,” and deciding whether or not to enter writing workshops; he warns that “what people, institutions, and economic systems expect should not define you.” Mosley’s fundamental offering, supplemented with some tricks of the trade, is a message of encouragement, as when he addresses the virtue of improvising (“The novel flourishes when its author begins to take risks”) or the value of rewriting (“the beauty of writing that you can go back and make changes that will be everything you meant to say and not one word you didn’t”). Mosley has skillfully packed a large canvas into a small frame, which should equally please readers who enjoy seeing a writer at work and writers in need of assistance. (Sept.)

(via Publishers Weekly)

A treasury of inspiration coming to the Alden, Feb. 24

by Hanan Daqqa / Fairfax County Times
February 22, 2019

Photo by Marcia E Wilson / Photo Courtesy McLean Community Center

The first time I discovered Walter Mosley was when I saw his photo on the front cover of the library’s catalog a few weeks ago. On the cover was an announcement about his upcoming event at McLean Community Center’s Alden Theatre, and I was intrigued by the look in his eyes and the title of the event: “From Generation to Generation: Stories of Fathers and Sons,” so I decided to find out more about him. I found an in-depth, three-hour-interview with him on C-SPAN as part of Book TV’s “In Depth.” I enjoyed every minute of it and I was really inspired. The 2018 interview introduced Mr. Mosley as “the author of over 40 books, including ‘Devil in a Blue Dress,’ ‘Fearless Jones,’ and most recently, ‘Down the River Unto the Sea.’” Currently, his most recent book is “John Woman.”

Read the rest of this entry »

American Presidents Can’t Stop Reading Thrillers, Just Like Us

A Century of Crime Fiction Readers in the White House

February 18, 2019, Camille LeBlanc, CrimeReads.com

Bill Clinton

Our mystery-writer-President! And while not all attempts pan out, Clinton is a bibliophile through and through; as one of our best-read presidents, he’s a true fan of crime fiction, a patron of DC’s now defunct MysteryBooks, and a major supporter of his favorite writers: Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley, Sara Paretsky, and more. At the start of his presidency, he said he read two literary or nonfiction books for each mystery, a ratio that inevitably slid to one-for-one. He also reportedly screened High Noon 17 times at the White House.

(via crimereads.com)

MWA Announces Walter Mosley’s Down the River Unto the Sea Nominated for Best Novel

January 22, 2019, New York, NY – Mystery Writers of America is proud to announce, as we celebrate the 210th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, the Nominees for the 2019 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, honoring the best in mystery fiction, non-fiction and television published or produced in 2018. The Edgar® Awards will be presented to the winners at our 73rd Gala Banquet, April 25, 2019 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, New York City.

BEST NOVEL

The Liar’s Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard (Blackstone Publishing)
House Witness by Mike Lawson (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Monthly Press)
A Gambler’s Jury by Victor Methos (Amazon Publishing – Thomas & Mercer)
Down the River Unto the Sea by Walter Mosley (Hachette Book Group – Mulholland)
Only to Sleep by Lawrence Osborne (Penguin Random House – Hogarth)
A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (Penguin Random House – Berkley)

Read the rest of the nominations on the MWA Site

Southwest Books of the Year: Ring in 2019 with some regional reads

Arizona Daily Star
Jan 6, 2019

If you’ve been looking to sink your teeth into some southwestern-themed literature, we have a list of the best reads of 2018 courtesy the Pima County Public Library and Friends of the Pima County Public Library.

The 42nd annual edition of “Southwest Books of the Year: Best Reading 2018” looks to shine a light on titles about Southwest subjects or that are set in the Southwest.

The top picks were reviewed by a panel of six subject specialists and come recommended by two or more panelists.

Selections range from fiction and mysteries to history, poetry, art, food, and nature writing — all specific to our corner of the planet.

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It’s Up to Us: A Roundtable Discussion

Gone Fishin' By Kellye Garrett
November 26, 2018
www.lareviewofbooks.org

THIS PAST SUMMER, Walter Mosley, Agatha Award–winning writer Gigi Pandian, and I started a group for crime writers of color. Within two months, the group went from the three of us to having over 80 writers — all in various stages of our careers. We cheer the ups, commiserate with the downs, and brainstorm ways to ensure the appallingly low number of mysteries published by writers of color continues to grow.

It was during one of those brainstorming discussions that the idea for this roundtable took shape. The group was discussing how best to diversify conference panels. I mentioned how I’d love to see a panel featuring black mystery writers who first published in different decades to see what had gotten easier, what had gotten harder, and what had stayed the same.

Steph Cha messaged me suggesting that it might work as a roundtable discussion. I knew exactly who I wanted to invite — and was thrilled when they all immediately said yes. The resulting conversation is enlightening and a great inside look at what it’s like to be a black mystery writer.

Read the rest of the discussion

Past Tense: California: State of Change

Photos by Bob Martin for The New York Times

As Seen by The New York Times
November 10, 2018

In California, there were deserts and mountains, vast farmlands and a thousand miles of publicly owned beach. There were people from everywhere and opportunity that only a country like America could offer the working man or woman, and their children, too. From San Francisco to San Diego, from Hollywood to the world, California offered succor, health and, oddly, anonymity. If you didn’t like the view, you moved. If the boss gave you grief, you dropped him.

The sun shone mercilessly, but no one asked for mercy.

Everybody was rich because anything was possible.

Read the entire essay on Past Tense

18 Brilliant Books for Fall: John Woman

John WomanJohn Woman
By Walter Mosley
320 pages; Atlantic Monthly Press
Available at:

Amazon.com | Barnes & Noble |iBooks | IndieBound
After murdering a man, 17-year-old Cornelius flees New York, adopts a new name, and gains fame for the provocative ideas he’s borrowed from his dead father. An intellectual romp by the renowned mystery writer.
— Hamilton Cain

(via oprah.com)

John Woman

John Woman

AmazonB&NYour local bookstore Available: Sept 4, 2018

A convention-defying novel by bestselling writer Walter Mosley, John Woman recounts the transformation of an unassuming boy named Cornelius Jones into John Woman, an unconventional history professor―while the legacy of a hideous crime lurks in the shadows.

At twelve years old, Cornelius, the son of an Italian-American woman and an older black man from Mississippi named Herman, secretly takes over his father’s job at a silent film theater in New York’s East Village. Five years later, as Herman lives out his last days, he shares his wisdom with his son, explaining that the person who controls the narrative of history controls their own fate. After his father dies and his mother disappears, Cornelius sets about reinventing himself―as Professor John Woman, a man who will spread Herman’s teachings into the classrooms of his unorthodox southwestern university and beyond. But there are other individuals who are attempting to influence the narrative of John Woman, and who might know something about the facts of his hidden past.

Engaging with some of the most provocative ideas of recent intellectual history, John Woman is a compulsively readable, deliciously unexpected novel about the way we tell stories, and whether the stories we tell have the power to change the world.