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review 2022-07-18 05:17
CHARCOAL JOE by Walter Mosley
Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery - Walter Mosley

Charcoal Joe calls on Easy Rawlins to get Seymour, a young PhD student, off on a murder charge that they know he did not commit. Easy agrees but he stumbles into more than murder. Who all is involved? Who is the murderer?


This is the first Easy Rawlins Mystery I read. I liked it a lot. I've been meaning to read this series and I am glad I did. Easy is fairly laid back. He's smart. He still gets into trouble but is able to get himself out of the trouble. I liked his daughter Feather. I also liked his partners, Saul and Whisper. They seem to bring down the bad guys and save the good ones.


I'll be looking forward to reading more of Easy and his people.

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text 2019-11-26 04:51
Seven Books I'm Thankful For
Danse Macabre - Stephen King
Early Autumn - Robert B. Parker
Devil in a Blue Dress - Walter Mosley
Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton
A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin
The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss
A Song for Arbonne - Guy Gavriel Kay

The holidays are here, and now it's time to say our thanks.

I'm thankful for each of these books for different reasons. They aren't all favorites per se, but have all made a positive impact on me.


Danse Macabre - Stephen King 


Danse Macabre, Stephen King


This one got me into genre-specific reference books and pointed me towards several books that became favorites. I may never have discovered Harlan Ellison were it not for this, and that would've sucked.


Early Autumn - Robert B. Parker 


Early Autumn, Robert B. Parker



This was the first Spenser novel I read, at my mother's request. After this, PI novels became one of my go-to subgenres and Spenser one of my favorite PI's. This one also had many solid lessons on how to be an adult male, something I needed at the time. It holds up, too.


Devil in a Blue Dress - Walter Mosley 


Devil in a Blue Dress, Walter Mosley



Another PI novel, but this one showed me that genre fiction was super-flexible and able to tackle almost any theme or issue. It also introduced me to another favorite author and series.


Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton 


Guilty Pleasures, Laurell K Hamilton



I'm not a fan of this series anymore, but this book introduced me (and may others) to the Urban Fantasy genre, which was one of my faves for years. I liked the first few (heavy on the horror, light on the sex) best, and walked away when the series became, essentially, Erotica. Still, this one had a tremendous impact on my own reading as well as the industry as a whole.


A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of Thrones / A Clash of Kings / A Storm of Swords / A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin 


Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin


I'm not caught up with the series (got tired after binging the first three), nor have I watched much of the show, but this book got me back into traditional fantasy and introduced many to GrimDark. I will come back to these... eventually.


The Great Movies - Roger Ebert,Mary Corliss 


The Great Movies, Roger Ebert


These books introduced me to many, umm, great movies while giving me new perspective on many I'd already seen. Ebert has shaped how I watch and think about films, and his beautiful prose helped me see what criticism should be.


A Song for Arbonne - Guy Gavriel Kay 


A Song for Arbonne, Guy Gavriel Kay


A very literary semi-historical stand-alone that introduced me to one of my new favorite authors. It also had an effect on what I look for in fantasy. It's awesome, and not even Kay's best.

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review 2019-08-22 00:00
A Little Yellow Dog
A Little Yellow Dog - Walter Mosley This book is the one in the Easy Rawlins’ series that precedes Bad Boy Brawley Brown, the Moseley book I read first on vacation. It wasn’t available to me until half way through my second week beside the lake in Maine. Interestingly, it was written six years before its “sequel”. It’s unfortunate that I didn’t get to read it first, it explains things we're already supposed to understand by the time we begin the sequel: stuff about Easy’s having taken a straight job as the head janitor at a school, his taking up with Bonnie Shay, and Mouse's being dead (or not?).

Anyway, Easy heads into work early at the Sojurner Truth Junion High School. One of the teachers is already in. Not only that, but she has a little yellow dog, Pharoh, with her. No dogs allowed. Even worse, the little yellow dog takes an instant dislike to Easy. But the teacher convinces Easy that she's rescued Pharoh from her husband, who was going to kill Pharoh. So, helped along no doubt by a little hanky panky on a student desk, Easy agrees to shield the dog.

Later, Easy learns that the teacher had lied to him. Also, however, a man looking much like the teacher's husband, ends up dead on school grounds, in a garden. Then, when Easy goes to the teacher's house to return the little yellow dog, he finds the teacher's husband dead in an easy chair. Apparently, it was the guy's brother who expired in the school garden.

So, Easy takes Pharoh home. His young daughter, Feather, and Pharoh immediately become best friends. Feather renames Pharoh, Frenchie.

Naturally, the cops think Easy is likely implicated in the murders. Furthermore, they think he's implicated in some embezzlement going on at the various schools.

So, Easy, helped by his friend, Raymond Alexander, a.k.a. Mouse, eventually figure things out. But along the way, Mouse is shot. At the end of the book, he's in the ICU.

Oh, one other thing happens. Easy strikes up a friendship with one Bonny Shay. She's an airline stewardess who was at one time best buds with the sketchy teacher who got Easy into the mess with the little yellow dog.

Well, I'm afraid my recounting is rather incoherent. Perhaps I don't concentrate so well on vacation as I thought. I blame the loons on the lake and the chipmunk that runs back and forth in front of my seat along the shores of Parker Pond.

Anyway, like the other books in the Easy Rawlins series, this is worth one's time, a GoodRead indeed.
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review 2019-08-08 00:00
Bad Boy Brawly Brown
Bad Boy Brawly Brown - Walter Mosley I read Walter Moseley to help me better understand issues related to race. His prime character, Easy Rawlins, has lots to say about race, and how he must go about doing things to avoid “race issues”, especially when it comes to dealing with the cops.

I first came upon Easy Rawlins quite a number of years ago on vacation. So, I’ve continued to read him on vacation, when I have more time to concentrate, ruminate, and finish a book. This latter issue is important to me because I was told back in the day that I read at only half the speed required for success in college. Despite that handicap, I did manage to get me some degrees over the years.

Anyway, I got started in the middle of the series, and worked my way to what was, a few years ago, the end. So, a year or two ago, I decided to begin at the beginning and work until I found the first one I’d read. Easy begins his adventures in the 1950s, just after World War II. In this book, we’re in 1964, when civil rights issues are coming to a head.

Easy, has a checkered past, but is trying to go straight, so to speak, so as to be a good father to his two children, Jesus or Juice (17 or so), and Feather (7 or 8). So, he’s working as the head janitor at the Sojourner Truth Junior High School in Los Angeles. But sometimes, his old past comes back to him. He used to “do favors” for people. Generally the favors involve extracting them from something sketchy.

An old friend, John, who used to be a bar tender, wants some help. It seems that John’s wife, Alva, has a son about whom she is worried. Her son, Brawley Brown, has disappeared and also appears to have become involved with people who are bound to get him into serious trouble. So, could Easy find Brawley and send him back to Mama?

On the surface, Brawley has become involved with a sort of civil rights group (probably a Black Panther stand in). Superficially, they want to set up better schools for children and see they have safer environments. But there are worries that some of the folks in the group are also interested in some kinds of violent interventions, and perhaps also some sketchier things.

So, anyway, Easy eventually works things out, fingers some of the sketchier folks and gets Brawley returned to his mother. Something like that.

Oh yeah, a recurring theme through the book, something on which Easy broods a lot, is that he thinks his friend, Raymond Alexander, a.k.a. Mouse, is dead. No one knows for sure. Mouse was in intensive care, then was snatched away from the ICU by his girlfriend (spouse?), Ettamae. No one has ever seen Mouse's body, and Ettamae seems also to have disappeared. Anyway, Easy is bothered by this, in part because he is responsible for the injury that got Mouse into the ICU, and broods incessantly about this through out this book. In some ways, it's his channeling Mouse that helps him solve the Brawley Brown problem.
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review 2019-03-22 02:51
Walter Mosley: Down the Rivert Unto The Sea
Down the River unto the Sea - Walter Mosley

Walter Mosley takes readers on a journey where a former police officer turned PI is not only investigating a case to save a man's life but also looking to redeem the life he lost:

When Joe King Oliver is sent to arrest a car thief he never thought that it would land him in prison and then solitary confinement on Rikers Island. He knew he had been set up but he could never prove it. Over a decade later King is now a private investigator running his own agency with the help of his teenage daughter who acts as his assistant. When he receives a letter in the mail from the woman that admits she framed him and was paid to do so by a cop, King has no choice now that to take on his own case to try to stop the corruption that is running within the NYPD. The thing about corruption is it tends to run deep and King's case is not the only one out there.

This is the first book that I have read by Mosley and honestly I had never heard of him before this book, which I now think is crazy as he has written over 43 books and quite a few of them are mystery based. I guess I should now just count myself lucky to have discovered him and have 42 more books to look forward to.

There are many aspects that I enjoyed about this book. Mosley has a way of writing that just draws you into King's life and story. Mosley does not sugar coat anything and there are times where King goes down a dark path pursuing information or protecting himself or those he loves. This book also has a police procedural feel to it as King used to be a police officer so he knows how to work a case and try to uncover evidence/clues to lead him to the next step. One thing you can say about King is that he is fairly methodical in his work process and he tries to see things from many angles. 

King is a great character to who a main flaw, his love of women and that is what lead him to be incarcerated at Rikers Island. He seems to have put all women behind him but he does comment more than once about a lovely lady that he encounters or sees. King is now also suffering from PTSD so there are times when this interrupts his thought process but this just makes him feel more like a real person. King still bleeds blue even though he knows he was betrayed by them, but the still has friends inside the force that will help him. One thing you can say about king is that he is a force to be reckoned with.

Another character I really liked was Mel. I would like to see more from him if this book were to become a series or really just a book about Mel as he was such an interesting character; criminal, sociopath but also lives by a certain code, I mean I feel like that book could just write itself, lol.

I guess my one negative in this book was that I was able to figure one of the big twists pretty early on, I personally felt it was a bit obvious but maybe that was just me.

This book was nominated by the MWA for the best book award 2019, so if you're into reading books from those type of shortlists make sure to pick this up. And if you're not into reading from awards lists, still pick this book up it is a great mystery crime read. I know I'm going to be on the hunt for more of Mosley's novels.


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