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Walter Mosley to receive honorary National Book Award

Walter Mosley

FILE – Author Walter Mosley attends the 2018 National Art Awards in New York on Oct. 22, 2018. Mosley, who is among the most acclaimed crime novelists of his time, is receiving an honorary National Book Award. He will formally receive the medal during a Nov. 18 ceremony that will be held online because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Walter Mosley is receiving an honorary National Book Award, cited for dozens of books which range from science fiction and erotica to the acclaimed mystery series that has followed the life of Los Angeles private detective Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins. Read the rest of this entry »

Buzzed Books #29: And Sometimes I Wonder About You

by John King

And Sometimes I Wonder About YouI am primarily a reader of literary fiction. It is where the joys and the fun of reading tend to be for me. Like many literary readers, I have a deep, complicated affection for hard-boiled detective fiction, à la Dashiel Hammett and Raymond Chandler. The blunt brutality, bold psychology, and flourishes of purple style are compressed into a lovely textual cocktail by the form of the mystery, the plot that is itself a chase after a question mark. Characterization is both impressionistic and elusive—precisely as elusive as the mystery, usually.

One of the hallmarks of contemporary detective fiction is the shortness of chapters, which makes the form even more compressed. This would seem to deepen the challenge of the genre even more than classic hard-boiled detective fiction—or highlight the genre author’s flaws. Read the rest of this entry »

Little Green

Little GreenWhen Walter Mosley burst onto the literary scene in 1990 with his first Easy Rawlins mystery, Devil in a Blue Dress—a combustible mixture of Raymond Chandler and Richard Wright—he captured the attention of hundreds of thousands of readers (including future president Bill Clinton). Eleven books later, Easy Rawlins is one of the few private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called iconic and immortal. In the incendiary and fast-paced Little Green, he returns from the brink of death to investigate the dark side of L.A.’s 1960s hippie haven, the Sunset Strip.

We last saw Easy in 2007’s Blonde Faith, fighting for his life after his car plunges over a cliff. True to form, the tough WWII veteran survives, and soon his murderous sidekick Mouse has him back cruising the mean streets of L.A., in all their psychedelic 1967 glory, to look for a young black man, Evander “Little Green” Noon, who disappeared during an acid trip. Fueled by an elixir called Gator’s Blood, brewed by the conjure woman Mama Jo, Easy experiences a physical, spiritual, and emotional resurrection, but peace and love soon give way to murder and mayhem. Written with Mosley’s signature grit and panache, this engrossing and atmospheric mystery is not only a trip back in time, it is also a tough-minded exploration of good and evil, and of the power of guilt and redemption. Once again, Easy asserts his reign over the City of (Fallen) Angels.

reviews-star-19b“In 2007’s Blonde Faith, set in 1967, Easy Rawlins drove drunkenly off a cliff in what his creator indicated was likely his last appearance. Now, after two months of sliding in and out of consciousness, Easy begins the long journey back to the living, in Mosley’s superb 12th mystery featuring his iconic sleuth…. If there were an Edgar for best comeback player, Easy Rawlins would be a shoo-in.”

Publishers Weekly (starred)

“Mosley fans were pining for the resurrection of Rawlins.  Their dreams have come true…. Mosley returns here to doing what he does best: setting the pain and pleasure of individual lives, lived mostly in L.A.’s black community, within an instantly recognizable historical moment and allowing the two to feed off one another…. [A] major event for crime-fiction fans.”

—Bill Ott, Booklist

Cheaters Never Win

Illustration by Christoph NiemannIllustration by Christoph Niemann

By Marilyn Stasio, Published: January 20, 2012

A big city never looks the same once you’ve walked its streets with a hard-boiled private eye. Preferably someone as perceptive and thoughtful as Leonid McGill, the shady but honorable bruiser-for-hire in an addictive series of New York crime novels by Walter Mosley. A former mob fixer who has gone straight, McGill doesn’t so much walk the city as case it for danger. Keeping pace with him is as much an education as an adventure.

Mosley comes from the Raymond Chandler pick-up-sticks school of plot construction, so like the three previous books in this series, ALL I DID WAS SHOOT MY MAN (Riverhead, $26.95) is quirky by design. The inspired title comes from the mouth of Zella Grisham, who shot her boyfriend when she caught him in her bed — “under the quilt that my Aunt Edna made for me” — with her best friend. Although the no-good cheater survived, Zella did eight years hard time on evidence planted by McGill that falsely implicated her in the $58 million robbery of a Wall Street firm. Having engineered her early release, he thinks he has atoned for one more of the past crimes that still haunt him — until hit men start coming after Zella, looking for the heist money she supposedly squirreled away.

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