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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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)

‘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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Charcoal Joe

Charcoal JoeAn Easy Rawlins Mystery

AmazonB&NYour local bookstore Available: June 14, 2016

About the Book: 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.

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 »

Killer Nashville Rose Gold Review

Rose GoldRose Gold, by Walter Mosley
Review by Alycia Gilbert

Set in the corrupt, racially charged Los Angeles of the late 1960s, Walter Mosley’s Rose Gold examines its social backdrop as much as its detective examines the mystery within it. Rose Gold is the newest addition to Mosley’s Easy Rawlins mysteries, but can be readily enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

Private detective Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins finds himself entangled in jurisdictions and lies as he investigates the kidnapping of Rosemary Goldsmith, daughter of a military weapons developer, and her involvement with boxer-turned political activist Bob Mantle. As Rosemary’s case unfolds, Easy delves deeper into the world of communes and revolutionaries while relying on old friends and favors to help his investigation along. To clear names, navigate additional cases, and find Rosemary Goldsmith, Easy Rawlins will have to work his way through blatant prejudice and constant misdirection.

Rose Gold is more a mystery of connections than a thriller, with a constant, steady pace that picks up toward the climax of the novel. Mosley’s grasp on the culture of Vietnam-era L.A. is organic, and his use of setting will delight readers. His writing style is straightforward and easy to process, and is laced with moments of original, beautiful description.

Readers who are unfamiliar with the rest of the Easy Rawlins mysteries may find themselves overwhelmed by the number of characters in this novel, as they will have to meet both old and new figures and sort through their involvement. Those looking for a mystery with a smooth pace, humor, and a very involved narrator and those who are interested in postwar social interactions will find Mosley’s narrative captivating.

(via Killer Nashville)

Whodunit: mini reviews of mysteries

Rose Gold, By Walter Mosley
Doubleday, 309 pages, $30

Rose GoldEasy Rawlins, the black Los Angeles PI, is an inventive investigator and usually finds himself in intricate cases. But sometimes, reading the Rawlins books—this is the 13th—the plots seem excuses for Mosely to examine the psychological and linguistic complications that a black man with smarts experiences in interactions with the white world. The new book, set in 1974, offers such encounters in steady doses. Easy’s job is to run down a billionaire’s daughter who has either been kidnapped by a gang of radicals or, in the Patty Hearst model, has willingly joined them. On the way to the solution, the smooth, nervy Rawlins talks himself past countless varieties of nastiness.

(via thestar.com)

Inside a Silver Box

Inside a Silver Boxreviews-star-19bIn this terrific genre-defying work, Mosley (Rose Gold) uses an eons-old battle for control of existence as a backdrop for a character-driven novel of philosophy and social commentary. Ages ago, the Laz created the Silver Box to inflict torture on other life forms, but the Silver Box rebelled and imprisoned the Laz within itself. In the present day, black thug Ronnie Bottoms kills white Columbia student Lorraine Fell in Central Park, above the Box’s resting place. Lorraine’s spirit draws Ronnie back to her body and he resurrects her using the artifact’s power, but a sliver of the Laz escapes, so the Silver Box calls upon the unlikely duo to “try to save the Earth” and sends them on a journey to gain superpowers. Mosley really pulls out all the stops, managing with improbable success to combine a struggle for the fate of all existence with a story about two New Yorkers from very different backgrounds coming to understand each other and address the mistakes they’ve made in their own lives. Wild concepts and deep thoughts sit comfortably alongside the musings of ordinary people undergoing radical changes in this top-notch tale. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins/Loomis Agency. (Jan.)

Publisher’s Weekly Starred Review

Rose Gold

Rose GoldRose Gold is two colors, one woman, and a big headache.

In this new mystery set in the Patty Hearst era of radical black nationalism and political abductions, a black ex-boxer self-named Uhuru Nolica, the leader of a revolutionary cell called Scorched Earth, has kidnapped Rosemary Goldsmith, the daughter of a weapons manufacturer, from her dorm at UC Santa Barbara. If they don’t receive the money, weapons, and apology they demand, “Rose Gold” will die—horribly and publicly. So the FBI, the State Department, and the LAPD turn to Easy Rawlins, the one man who can cross the necessary borders to resolve this dangerous standoff. With twelve previous adventures since 1990, Easy Rawlins is one of the small handful of private eyes in contemporary crime fiction who can be called immortal. Rose Gold continues his ongoing and unique achievement in combining the mystery/PI genre form with a rich social history of postwar Los Angeles—and not just the black parts of that sprawling city.

Coming from Knopf Doubleday on September 23, 2014