Americans met Easy Rawlins in the book, “Devil in a Blue Dress,” in 1991 and followed the private investigator’s escapades for more than two decades in a series of gripping mysteries such as “White Butterfly,” “Six Easy Pieces,” “Cinnamon Kiss” and “Rose Gold.”
Now crime fiction novelist Walter Mosley has issued the 14th novel on Rawlins, “Charcoal Joe,” continuing the exciting adventures of the popular black detective as he risks his life to solve another mystery.
Mosley, who has written a range of fiction, nonfiction, political and philosophical works, has created an enduring character in Rawlins as well as a thoughtful commentary on African American life in Los Angeles from the 1940s to the present. Throughout the series, Easy encounters racism, discrimination, police brutality and economic challenges. Yet, he survives and succeeds.
There is no underlying attempt to send a message to the nation, according to Mosley. It’s more an effort to entertain.
“I don’t have any particular messages. I think that I’m writing about this guy’s life and it’s interesting being black in America,” he said. “I do like that I’m creating black male heroes and I do like it that black men can read these books.”
“Charcoal Joe” is titled after another black man who hires Rawlins to clear his doctoral-candidate son of the murder of a white man. En route into the mission, Easy faces a host of bad guys, dead bodies, corrupt police and cunning women.
In addition to Rawlins, Mosley has created several black males with colorful names such as Fearless Jones, “Mouse” Alexander and “Whisper” Natly. These memorable characters are strong, shrewd, purposeful and humorous as they deal with life ’s ups and downs.
“It’s all about the characters. Either it’s a new character that I’m discovering more about and that’s just what it is. I just start writing and it’s really a lot of fun,” said Mosley, who grew up in Los Angeles.
Source: LA Sentinel