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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)

The 10 Best Crime Novels of 2016

The 10 Best Crime Novels of 2016
Although it wasn’t done by design, this year’s 10 Best Crime Novels fall neatly into various subgenres. So what you’re really getting are my choices for: Best Rural Mystery Set in Mississippi, Best Mystery Featuring a Drug-Addicted Private Eye, Best Historical Mystery Set in the 14th Century and so on.

CHARCOAL JOE. By Walter Mosley. (Doubleday, $26.95.)Mosley’s mellow private eye, Easy Rawlins, is talking his way through another case in this period mystery set in 1968, when black neighborhoods are still seething with rage after the Watts riots. In this heated climate, Easy is . . . well, easy. No furies in his brain, no fires in his gut, just an unquenchable curiosity about people and their obsessions. Favorite characters like Jackson Blue and Fearless Jones provide backup for Easy, an unconventional hero who’s unafraid to lower his fists and use his brain.

(via The New York Times)

Walter Mosley Refuses to Be Boxed In

The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences Presents "Spotlight On Screenwriting: Boyz n the Hood 25th Anniversary Screening With John Singleton And Walter Mosley"

The prolific author of the Easy Rawlins series writes what about whatever he wants, even if he has to switch publishers to get it done.

BY: RONDA RACHA PENRICE
Posted: July 10, 2016

Walter Mosley’s website lists books he’s written. Right now there are 48: 43 fiction and five nonfiction. And later this year, he’ll add to the list—a highly intellectual book titled, Folding the Red Into the Black: Developing a Viable Untopia for Human Survival in the 21st Century, which is due out in October. “It’s a repudiation of both capitalism and socialism on another level,” he explains.

Charcoal Joe, his most recent work of fiction, which came out last month, is perhaps more familiar territory for most of us. It is Mosley’s latest from his Easy Rawlins mystery series. Back in 1995, Denzel Washington played Easy, and Don Cheadle, in a breakout role, played Mouse on the big screen in Devil in a Blue Dress. The last book in the series, Rose Gold, was published two years ago, and Rawlins is picking up from there. It’s Los Angeles in the late 1960s, where race and life intersect. Mosley has visited Rawlins’ life for 14 books now, and he hasn’t felt stuck.

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Good Day Book Club: Charcoal Joe

NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) – Author Walter Mosley has written 52 books that have been translated into 23 languages.

The prolific writer and the author behind the wildly popular mystery books, ‘Easy Rawlins,’ is out with his 14th installment of the series, ‘Charcoal Joe.’

“I like this book. I am very happy about it. This one is a good mystery. All the major characters from the Easy Rawlins sphere are in the book,” said Mosley.

Best-selling author Walter Mosley “I was not a good student”
Despite his success over the past several decades, Mosley’s rise to the top did not come in a traditional fashion.

“I’m not a big fan of research. I was not a good student and school is research, right? It turns out I am a good writer, but I did not start writing until I was 34. I got published when I was 38,” said Mosley.

The former computer programmer was sitting at work when he wrote: “on hot sticky days in southern Louisiana the fire ants swarm.”

The line was the beginning of his fiction writing career.

“I started writing. I met some people. One guy gave my book to his agent and he said let’s do it,” said Mosley.

Fans can meet the writer during the International Thriller Writers conference taking place at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Manhattan through July 9. For more information, visit THRILLERFEST.COM.

(via fox5ny.com)

5 New Books to Read this Week: June 14, 2016

Every Wednesday, we here at Criminal Element will put together a list of Staff Picks of the books that published the day before—sharing the ones that we are looking forward to reading the most!

Check back every Wednesday and see what we’re reading for the week!

Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)

Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with a new detective agency and a new mystery to solve.

 Picking up where his last adventures in Rose Gold left off in L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins finds his life in transition. He’s ready—finally—to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, and start a life together. And he’s taken the money he got from the Rose Gold case and, together with two partners, Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly, has started a new detective agency. But, inevitably, a case gets in the way: Easy’s friend Mouse introduces him to Rufus Tyler, a very old man everyone calls Charcoal Joe. Joe’s friend’s son, Seymour (young, bright, top of his class in physics at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Joe tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see this young man exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour literally was found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home, and considering the racially charged motives seemingly behind the murder, that might prove to be a tall order.

Between his new company, a heart that should be broken but is not, a whole raft of new bad guys on his tail, and a bad odor that surrounds Charcoal Joe, Easy has his hands full, his horizons askew, and his life in shambles around his feet.

(via Criminal Element)

Not So Easy Being Rawlins

Charcoal JoeVeteran storyteller Walter Mosley is back with another installment in the life and times of Easy Rawlins in Charcoal Joe. This is terrific news on several fronts: Easy is one of the finest characters in modern-day suspense fiction, complex and artfully drawn; the heroes and villains change sides with some regularity, including the main character; and the story offers more than its share of twists and turns to confound the reader. The titular Charcoal Joe is something of a legend in the circles of Los Angeles bad guys. Easy has stayed outside Joe’s sphere, but all that changes when he is tapped by his longtime frenemy Mouse to look into the murder charges against a young friend of Joe. Violence raises its ugly head, and our hero must take some serious evasive action to protect the lives of his family and loved ones. The Easy Rawlins saga has followed the landlord-turned-detective from the early post-World War II years through the Jim Crow 1950s and up to 1968 in this latest installment. The late ’60s were tumultuous times in Southern California, and Mosley deftly weaves social commentary into the narrative.

(via bookpage.com)

Walter Mosley on Tennessee Ernie Ford’s ‘Sixteen Tons’

A catchy tune about hard work for low pay struck a chord with the mystery writer’s family

Tennessee Ernie Ford, 1959

Walter Mosley, 64, is the author of 50 books, including his latest Easy Rawlins mystery, “Charcoal Joe” (Doubleday). He spoke with Marc Myers.

My father was a custodian in the Los Angeles public school system, and my mother worked for the Board of Education in human resources. In 1958, when I was 6, I’d stay after school with a woman named Margaret who worked for my father as a janitor. That’s when I first heard Tennessee Ernie Ford sing “Sixteen Tons.”

At Margaret’s house in South Central L.A., the television was always on. When I quit running around, I’d sit on the floor to watch. Ford had his own TV variety show on NBC every Thursday. Even as a kid, I found him captivating.

A white singer, Ford was relaxed and spoke like a congenial good ol’ boy. You could hear the South in his deep voice. Everybody I was around was originally from the South, so Ford’s sound was familiar and comforting.

After I heard him sing “Sixteen Tons” on TV, I couldn’t shake it. Many people have the same reaction. I think it’s Ford’s snapping on the second and fourth beats and his delivery, as if he had personally experienced the lyrics.

Read the rest on WSJ.com…

The New Easy Rawlins Novel, Charcoal Joe, with Author Walter Mosley

‘Charcoal Joe”: Walter Mosley’s Easy Rawlins is on the case

By Steve Novak,
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)

Walter Mosley’s private investigator Easy Rawlins has been around for nearly three decades now. Readers first met him in “Devil in a Blue Dress” when he agrees to find a missing person. The task that begins as a lark proves an inspiration to the recent World War II veteran that he may have found a suitable occupation. He takes to the streets of Los Angeles in the early 1940s and feels his way to an unexpected career.

Mr. Mosley’s 14th Easy Rawlins mystery, “Charcoal Joe,” shows just how far the character has come since that first case. With money he garnered from his last case, “Rose Gold” (2014), he has started his own private investigation agency, complete with two associates. As he walks to his new office, Easy realizes just what has happened to his life.

“I took in a deep breath through my nostrils and smiled, thinking that a poor black man from the deep South like myself was lucky not to be dead and buried, much less a living, breathing independent businessman,” he thinks.

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Walter Mosley’s ‘Charcoal Joe’: Easy Rawlins is back

Charcoal Joe, by Walter Mosley (Doubleday)

By Neely Tucker
The Washington Post

Walter Mosley’s latest Easy Rawlins novel, “Charcoal Joe,” comes on the heels of the author winning the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in April. No one familiar with the quality and quantity of Mosley’s creative output was surprised by this honor. His output encompasses more than four dozen books — including 14 Rawlins novels — science fiction, nonfiction and essays. He’s been awarded PEN America’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Still, in some ways, the full measure of his achievement can only be gauged by seeing him at the Edgars, as the Mystery Writers’ honors are known. I watched the whole thing from a table near the back. Mosley was one of fewer than two dozen African Americans in a ballroom holding hundreds. Publishing, like the film industry, was a pale field when Mosley’s first Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins novel, “Devil in a Blue Dress,” was published in 1990 and made into a Denzel Washington vehicle five years later. Two decades on, both still are. (Looking at you, #oscarssowhite.)
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