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Charcoal Joe

(Easy Rawlins #14)

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  2,342 ratings  ·  349 reviews
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 L.A. in the late 1960s, Ezekiel “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 a
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 14th 2016 by Doubleday
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Mary I started reading the Easy Rawlins series with [Little Scarlet], which is the 9th book in the series, for a real life book club. I loved it so much, I…moreI started reading the Easy Rawlins series with [Little Scarlet], which is the 9th book in the series, for a real life book club. I loved it so much, I went back and read all the books, starting with the first, [Devil in a Blue Dress], and then read the Fearless Jones series. So while you might miss some of the references and nuances, I don't think it will ruin the experience for you.(less)

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Average rating 4.06  · 
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 ·  2,342 ratings  ·  349 reviews

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Nov 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I have read the entire series, and we are now on the 14th one. It is one of my all time favourites and you could think that by this stage that the quality has slipped. Not one bit, Easy Rawlins is bruised and battered, and at an age when many black men in this era would have been dead, he has proved to be a miraculous survivor. This is detective fiction that transcends its genre to provide us with a remarkable insight of this historical period and what it is be black in a racist USA. There is a ...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I had not previously read an Easy Rawlins book, I didn't have a problem with it though with this book. Easy's character is easy to like and I've always wanted to try him out so I jumped in.

Easy is about to marry the woman that is his current love. Ms. Bonnie, he is all ready to head over to her house when she gets back to town and get down on his knee. Life seems to never work out like Easy wants though.

He ends up getting a visit from his old time 'friend' Mouse.
Palm Springs commercial photography

Mouse has a job for the priva
Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it

In this 14th book in the 'Easy Rawlins' series, the private detective is hired to clear the name of a man accused of murder. The book can be read as a standalone.


Easy Rawlins is riding pretty high. With a windfall from a previous case Easy has opened a private detective agency in Los Angeles with his two partners, Whisper and Saul.

Easy's also about to propose to his girlfriend Bonnie. Things don't go that well with Bonnie but Easy - getting busy with a case - pushes that to the back of his
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Guess I am a bit of an outlier on this one. I love the Ezekiel (Easy) Porterhouse Rawlins character: he is dependable, hard working, unbiased, with a strong, unwavering moral compass despite the unbalanced L.A. world in which he lives. He has friends in all walks of life. Just as his life is settling down, with a new detective agency with two partners, and about to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay, in comes his best friend Ray Alexander (Mouse.) Mouse wants Easy to help free a young black ...more
Aug 15, 2016 rated it it was ok
Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlings used to be a custodian for the Los Angeles public schools. He would trade “favor for favor” as he honed his skills as an investigator. This book carries Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlings several years into his “resurrection.” If I hadn’t read all of the Rawlings saga I might be more enthusiastic about Mosley’s current effort.

We are now in the late 1960s and, of course, in Los Angeles. Easy has just found the resources to start up his own detective agency with two partners. His fri
Yigal Zur
Jun 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
great thriller, clever and witty writer. what should be said more. Mosley is quite unique in his plots which in the end look so simple but not when you roam the book. he is sensual, he brings or cry out life of black people in L.A in the 60's and and is so human. great read
Rowena Hoseason
Aug 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
Utterly absorbing, Charcoal Joe yanks you back to LA in 1968, not long after the Watts riots, and it hurls you into the world of Easy Rawlins, a black man at a difficult time, a private investigator passing the prime of his life.

It’s been a while since I’ve read any Easy and I’d wondered if Mosley could’ve kept his edge. Truth is, right now, the author’s incisive observations on skin colour and tensions between the public and police couldn’t possibly be any more relevant. Mosley give us bitterl
Jan 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mosley, diaspora
“Black men in America had learned centuries ago that the devil not only offered the best deals – he was the only game in our part of town.” In this latest installment of the Easy Rawlins series, Easy is hired by the dangerous, forever criminally-minded Mouse. If you think that’s bad news, things just got a whole lot worse. Charcoal Joe might just be even badder than Mouse. Indeed he is the type of man that can make most men wince at the sound of his name. “Joe has been in turn what they call a ...more
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
The book description is quite revealing, so no need to rehash the plot in this review. I'll just tell you that you get what you expect from an Easy Rawlins mystery. A host of players, a fast moving plot, some great sentences of wisdom and colorful characterizations. Well done.
Sep 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mosley dazzles with memorable characters and an unflinching witty well-observed look at 1960s Los Angeles. The fourteenth novel in the Easy Rawlins series is as much a joy to read as the first book. I so appreciate how each storyline has a fresh feel wrapped around thought-provoking prose as the characters manage the ethics of the world they live in, as temptations come in many forms. As Easy tries to solve one of the most devious cases of his career, it is his personal life that will reach out ...more
Kirk Smith
Jun 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Walter Mosley you've been very good to me. I treasure your first six Easy Rawlins mysteries. Visions of Denzel as Easy and Don Cheadle as Mouse are the continuity that help me relish the series. But now you're looking back into the distance at 50 and you need to be a little more graceful. Even Denzel is showing grey, man you've got to quit thinking yourself such a stud and focus more on being a fierce but benevolent grandfather. You're a hell of a man. Stop leading with your stick. When I become ...more
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i am following my standing practice of giving walter mosley 5 stars unless something egregious gets in the way.
Those of you who’ve followed our reviews for very long know that I’m a huge Walter Mosley fan, and that I love his Easy Rawlins series, so I was delighted to get Charcoal Joe. There’s a reason Mr. Mosley’s consistently an award-winning and bestselling author…he’s an amazing storyteller.

The Easy Rawlins series beautifully portrays what parts of Los Angeles were like during each story’s decade, prevalent racial attitudes during those times, and the nuances of what each decade in the series was li
John Shaw
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Nobody creates atmosphere
like Walter Mosley.
The L.A. that his Easy Rawlins
inhabits is so real you can touch it.
Easy continues to struggle to solve his case.
Make some money and survive
in an L.A. that is not always
hospitable to a Black ex GI
Private Investigator.
Lots of authors TRY to emulate
the greats like Hammett and Chandler
Mosley does.
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mosley has created other memorable characters (Socrates Fortlow, Fearless Jones, Leonid McGill), but fortunately for readers like me, he keeps coming back to Easy Rawlins.

This one is vintage Easy Rawlins. A page-turner with a plot more complex than most writers could fit into 300 pages, and an ongoing commentary about life as a black man in late 20th century LA.
Sarah Weathersby
The review box says, "What did you think?"

I think I have reached the point that I can't keep up with all of the characters in an Easy Rawlins mystery. If not for Fearless Jones, Jackson Blue, Mama Jo, Bonnie and Feather, I would be totally off the rails.

And I still don't know who got all the money.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Not my favorite Easy book but still worth reading. So many characters and goings on--I got a little lost sometimes. But Easy is always wonderful and I look forward to new books by Mosley more than almost any other author.
Read In Colour
Dec 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
You put Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones together? I'm all in! Plus appearances by Mouse and Bad Boy Brawly Brown? Shoooooooooooot
Nov 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The latest Easy Rawlins book was thoroughly enjoyable. Rawlins is such an interesting character. The books take place in a near past - it's 1970 in this book. LA is still highly segregated, there are no cell phones or personal computers. Needing change for phone booths is essential. Rawlins is asked to help find a young black genius physicist innocent. While he was looking for his mother, he chance upon a body. The police burst in and arrested him with very little evidence other than that he is ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mosley
So loved Fearless Jones being in this read....Fearless is my favorite Walter Mosley character and that made this read special for Mi.
Kimberly Hicks
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Easy Rawlins Fans
Recommended to Kimberly by: Net Galley
I must admit, it’s been many moons since I’ve read an Easy Rawlins mystery. With the writing style of Mosley, one thing is for certain—reading an Easy mystery takes a certain rhythm, and once you move with the beat of the words, the dance is breathtaking!

Ezekiel “Easy” Rawlins has matured as a character, as well as in his current life standing. He’s in a good place and for good reason. He’s finally going to take the plunge and propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay—a woman who sets his soul and
Jo Dervan
Mar 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the 14th Easy Rollins mystery. It takes place in the mid 60s when there was a lot of unrest in Los Angeles and blacks like Easy were subjected to discrimination from whites all over the US.

Easy and 2 other operatives have opened a detective agency in Los Angeles. Each of the detectives has special skills and are the best at what they do. Easy's talents include being on good terms with many underworld characters, some corporate executives as well as a high ranking police official.
Easy w
Gail Cooke
Jul 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

With Ezekiel “Easy”Rawlins this author has created one of the most popular characters known to crime fiction. In some 14 tales Walter Mosley has kept up the excitement as Easy gets in and out of hot water in 1968 Los Angeles.

As Charcoal Joe begins for once it looks like Easy is enjoying a quietus while running WRENS-L, a detective agency whose partners including Easy are Saul Lynx and Whisper Natly. Plus, Easy is about to propose to his ever girl Bonnie Shay....until he finds out she’s rehook
Mahoghani 23
Easy never finds himself in an easy predicament. Whenever he has a bad feeling about this case, he's never wrong.

The story starts out with Easy on cloud nine and an engagement ring in his pocket. Then he finds out his girlfriend has married another man. To help him deal with the pain, he goes to Moma Jo and she gives him one of her concoctions. Now the real story begins.

2 men are found murdered in a home owned by Charcoal Joe, another ruthless killer. Seymour (his biological son; unknown to oth
Ralph Blackburn
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley- This is the fourteenth Easy Rawlins mystery by Walter Mosley, and much like the previous outings, it is exciting, mysterious, confusing, and profound. As usual, racism and the shadow so many people live under is always a determining factor of everyday life in Mosley's mysteries. How a black private detective maneuvers through the 1960's black and white worlds is of paramount importance to the story. In this case, Rawlins is tasked by a friend to help prove a young ...more
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wmosley
Yeah, read it in one day. Because that's how Easy Rawlins books work. You start and can't stop.

Once again, we have a complex character, dealing with very colorful (no pun intended) people who are doing very bad things. One thing that I think will stick with me here is the fact that Easy comes up against a very capable foe, a "Mouse before there was a Mouse", and is told that, while he is one man, his legion of friends and associates (and Mouse, of course) is with him as well. In a very memorable
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Alas dear Easy, we knew you well.

Easy Rawlins was one of my favorite series—until now. The only thing exceptional here is what a good example this makes of a writer phoning it in. There was no spark, no pep, none of those things that made this such a good series. In truth, I wish I had not read it. It was like finding a big pile of poop on your favorite rug. No matter how hard you work to get the poop off, every time you look at the rug, you will be reminded.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley is heavy on characters, heavy on setting and is heavy on cool as befitting an Easy Rawlins mystery. This is book fourteen of the series and picks up Rawlins in Los Angeles, circa the late 1960s, as he begins his new Detective Agency. Life is looking up for Easy as he has a windfall from a prior case, he's getting ready to propose to the woman he loves and his new partnership has him working alongside friends he trusts and loves.

But life never does come easy for Easy
David Dacosta
Mar 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Mouse, Ezekiel Rawlins nearest and most lethal friend, has enlisted his services to do some poking around on behalf of Rufus Tyler aka Charcoal Joe, a man some have pegged as the Mouse before Mouse. Danger is just part of the terrain in this private dick’s universe. A twenty-something black physicist by the name of Seymour Brathwaite has somehow become implicated in the murder investigation of two slain white men. In the racially-charged 1960s America, that alone spells mountains of drama for a ...more
Thomas Bruso
Apr 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
2016 Grand Master Award Winner Walter Mosley’s entertaining 14th Easy Rawlins Mystery, “Charcoal Joe,” picks up where his last book, “Rose Gold,” ended.

Private investigator Easy Rawlins’ life is in transition. He’s taken the money he received from his last case in “Rose Gold” and, with his two partners and close friends Saul Lynx and Tinsford “Whisper” Natly, has opened up his own detective agency.

Rawlins is also ready to propose to his girlfriend, Bonnie Shay.

But inevitably, a new case gets in
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Walter Mosley (b. 1952) is the author of the bestselling mystery series featuring Easy Rawlins, as well as numerous other works, from literary fiction and science fiction to a young adult novel and political monographs. His short fiction has been widely published, and his nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and the Nation, among other publications. Mosley is the winner of numero ...more

Other books in the series

Easy Rawlins (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins, #1)
  • A Red Death (Easy Rawlins #2)
  • White Butterfly (Easy Rawlins #3)
  • Black Betty (Easy Rawlins #4)
  • A Little Yellow Dog (Easy Rawlins #5)
  • Gone Fishin'
  • Bad Boy Brawly Brown (Easy Rawlins #7)
  • Six Easy Pieces (Easy Rawlins #8)
  • Little Scarlet (Easy Rawlins #9)
  • Cinnamon Kiss (Easy Rawlins #10)

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