About the Book
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 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.
M & J’s Review
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 being on fire. Not only is his love life in order, he and his two cronies have set up a new detective agency, WRENS-L. It’s a combination of his and his partners’ names. Very clever indeed. But, of course, as Easy knows all too well, life doesn’t always turn out the way we plan it.
When Mouse, a childhood friend, comes knocking on his door, firecrackers, smoke and red flags went to popping and waving, which was a sure sign that Easy should have just looked the other way, but this was Mouse coming to him with a proposition that Easy couldn’t afford to walk away from.
As in the true fashion of Easy and this being the 1960s Los Angeles, once he begins to investigate a young man named Seymour’s alleged murder wrap, everything Easy thought he knew turns a bit upside down. Not only is his own life put on hold, he had to interrupt his daughter, Feather’s life, in order to guarantee that she and he would live to see another day. So what does a man in Easy’s position do? He calls upon a man he trusts more than himself, Fearless. Fearless provides not only hired muscle to handle all the sinister characters Easy comes across; he is a true confidante for Easy to talk to. The more Easy delves into all the shady people trying to ruin Seymour’s young hopeful chances, the more Easy is left feeling uneasy.
When the dust settles, there will be dead bodies, diamonds, millions of dollars and mystery left at the doorstep for you, the reader, to open and discover. What did a nineteen-year old have to gain by murdering two mob men in a Malibu beach house? And furthermore, did he do it? If you’re not familiar with Easy Rawlins, you’ll soon discover that “Trouble” is his middle name. Or shall I say, “Trouble” has a way of winding its way straight to Easy’s path.
This is the fourteenth novel in the Easy Rawlins mystery series. It was boldly written with all the shady and colorful characters that Mosley has eloquently devised and developed throughout the years. I love Easy, Fearless and Mouse. There were even a few new characters introduced that were a true delight to read. Mosley is one of those writers that gives the reader a lot of description, but as he does, your mind’s eye begins to see the movie reel advance, frame by frame and you can’t put the book down afraid of breaking up the visual scene. As with A Devil in a Blue Dress, I’d love to see Charcoal Joe turned into a motion picture film.
Mello & June gives Charcoal Joe five stars and beyond the galaxies. A fantastic, exciting adventure that grabs hold of you from the first page until the last. I know one thing; I’m looking forward to backtracking in the series and catching up with Easy. I see a lot has changed since I last read him. Mosley is a brilliant writer and commands his readers to think and take notice. Charcoal Joe goes on sale June 14, 2016. Mosley never disappoints. Reacquaint yourself with the colorful characters in the Easy Rawlins series. I’m so glad I did. Happy Reading!
Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer