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February Book - Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley


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Click for a larger image of Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins MysteryCharcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery
by Walter Mosley

Publication Date: 

List Price: $26.95 (store prices may vary)
Format: Hardcover
Classification: Fiction
Page Count: 320
ISBN13: 9780385539203
Imprint: Doubleday
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Parent Company: Bertelsmann and Pearson PLC


Book Description:

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.

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The protagonist was Easy Rawlins, and his goal was to clear the young man, Seymour, from the murder charge, and to get Bonnie, his old girlfriend, off his mind. 


The antagonists were the gangsters and Charcoal Joe at times, and thoughts of Bonnie.  


The theme I got was that Black people need to depend on themselves more – get involved in doing for each other – and trust the people in your circle. 


A recurring theme was heartbreak and surviving a break-up, and not to believe the hype about Black males, and don’t judge a book by its cover, which was what Seymour was doing. 


There so many sub-plot and metaphors – I think the woman fence, the jeweler, was representative racist society, but again the novel was loaded with metaphors


The scenes that stayed with me were Mama Jo’s house, and Charcoal Joe sitting at that table in the prison yard. 



I think the novel is giving advice – trust your circle and your community – don’t let society tell you what is, and what is not valuable.  


Yes, I would read another novel by Walter Mosley.


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