7:30pm (Reception, 6-7:00pm)
Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Easy Rawlins
& dramatic readings from Charcoal Joe and Devil in a Blue Dress
Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
$20 General Admission
$43 Reserved Section Seating, copy of Charcoal Joe
$95 Reception (6:30-7:30pm) Reserved Section seats, copy of Charcoal Joe
Twenty Five years ago, Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins came onto the literary scene—just back from World War II—and opened the door on a Los Angeles that had not been part of the signature Los Angeles noir novels written by the masters, Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald. Walter Mosley’s books on Easy Rawlins and his neighbors and friends touched a nerve; his deft capturing of the conversations, the deep connections and frustrations of his characters made his books both critical and popular successes.
Since Devil in A Blue Dress set Easy out on his first job of detection, Mosley has published close to 50 books across genres and formats. His characters’ popularity and the critical acclaim his books drew opened doors for another generation of writers of color, not only in the mystery field but in other genres as well.
At this quarter century mark, Mosley is being recognized for this series’ deep cultural importance and impact by his award of Grandmaster by the Mystery Writers of America organization. With the publication of the new Easy Rawlins, Charcoal Joe, we look forward to celebrating the anniversary of the Easy Rawlins series as well as the wider intellectual and political scope of the writer himself.
Walter Mosley’s indelible detective Easy Rawlins is back, with a new detective agency and a new mystery to solve. Picking up where Rose Gold left off in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, Easy Rawlins finds his life in transition. He’s ready to—finally—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 has, together with two partners, 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 at Stanford), has been arrested and charged with the murder of a white man from Redondo Beach. Rufus tells Easy he will pay and pay well to see his nephew exonerated, but seeing as how Seymour was literally found standing over the man’s dead body at his cabin home and the racially charged motives behind it, 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 a life in shambles on the ground around his feet.
Karen Grigsby Bates is a Los Angeles-based correspondent for NPR News, where she covers race, ethnicity and culture and how they each affect several aspects of American life. In addition, Bates often reports on authors and their work for NPR shows, especially Morning Edition. She’s been a reporter and substitute host for the Tavis Smiley show, and a correspondent for Day to Day. In her spare time, Bates has written several books, including two mysteries featuring reporter-sleuth Alex Powell.