Walter Mosley (January 12, 1952 - ..)
Born: 12th January, 1952
Nationality: American
Profession/Occupation: Novelist
Region: Los Angeles, California

Walter Mosley Facts

Biography

Walter Mosley, (born January 12, 1952, Los Angeles, California, U.S.), American author of mystery stories noted for their realistic portrayals of segregated inner-city life.

Mosley attended Goddard College and Johnson State College, and he became a computer programmer before publishing his first novel, Devil in a Blue Dress (1990; film 1995). Set in 1948, the novel introduces Ezekiel (“Easy”) Rawlins, an unwilling amateur detective from the Watts section of Los Angeles. It presents period issues of race relations and mores as the unemployed Rawlins is hired to find a white woman who frequents jazz clubs in black districts.

In Devil in a Blue Dress and subsequent Rawlins novels, Mosley used period detail and slang to create authentic settings and characters, especially the earnest, complex protagonist, who is continually confronted with personal, social, and moral dilemmas. In A Red Death (1991), set during the McCarthy era, Rawlins is blackmailed by the FBI into spying on a labour union organizer. In White Butterfly (1992) the police call on Rawlins to help investigate the vicious murders of four young women—three black and one white. Other novels featuring Rawlins included Black Betty (1994) and A Little Yellow Dog (1996). For the publication of Gone Fishin’ (1997), a prequel to Devil in a Blue Dress, Mosley chose a small independent black publisher, Black Classic Press, over his longtime publisher W.W. Norton. The series continued with Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002), Little Scarlet (2004), Cinnamon Kiss (2005), and Blonde Faith (2007). Rawlins, ostensibly dead following a car crash at the close of Blonde Faith, was revealed to have survived in Little Green (2013), in which he becomes involved in locating a young man who has disappeared after visiting the Sunset Strip. Later books in the series included Rose Gold (2014) and Charcoal Joe (2016).

Mosley’s other novels included RL’s Dream (1995), the story of a dying former blues guitarist (based on Robert Johnson) who is befriended by a young woman, and The Man in My Basement (2004), an examination of wealth, power, manipulation, and shifting relationships. Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997; filmed as Always Outnumbered for television, 1998), a collection of stories set in contemporary Watts, features the ex-convict Socrates Fortlow. Mosley returned to the Fortlow character in the stories of Walkin’ the Dog (1999) and in the novel The Right Mistake: The Further Philosophical Investigations of Socrates Fortlow (2008).

Mosley revisited the setting of 1950s Los Angeles in the mystery Fearless Jones (2001), introducing timorous bookseller Paris Minton and his roustabout sidekick, the titular Jones. Minton and Jones returned in sequels that included Fear Itself (2003) and Fear of the Dark (2006). The Tempest Tales (2008) centres on a dead man whose refusal to accept St. Peter’s judgment results in his being returned to earth. Mosley adapted the latter work into his first play, The Fall of Heaven, which was staged in 2010. The Long Fall (2009) was the first entry in another mystery series, set in contemporary New York City and featuring private detective (and sometime criminal) Leonid McGill. Mosley chronicled more of McGill’s hard-boiled capers in such works as Known to Evil (2010), All I Did Was Shoot My Man (2012), and And Sometimes I Wonder About You (2015). In Parishioner (2012), published as an e-book, Xavier (“Ecks”) Rule, a reformed criminal, is roped into solving a kidnapping that occurred nearly a quarter of a century before. Down the River unto the Sea (2018) centres on a New York City police investigator who tries to rebuild his life after being wrongly convicted of assault.

Mosley also tried his hand at other genres. He essayed science fiction in Blue Light (1998) and Futureland (2001), a group of interlocking stories, and in his Crosstown to Oblivion (2012, 2013) series of novellas. Nonfiction volumes included Workin’ on the Chain Gang: Shaking Off the Dead Hand of History (2000), What Next: A Memoir Toward World Peace (2003), This Year You Write Your Novel (2007), and Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation (2011).

Top 23 Walter Mosley quotes

I think that people don't know how to do anything anymore. My father was a janitor. He could take a car apart and put it back together. He could build a house in the back yard. Today, if you ask people what they know, they say, 'I know how to hire someone.'
Anymore
Anything
Apart
Ask
Back
Build
Car
Could
Father
He
Hire
House
How
I think
Poetry teaches us music, metaphor, condensation and specificity.
Metaphor
Music
Poetry
Specificity
Teaches
Us
At one time if you were a black writer you had to be one of the best writers in the world to be published. You had to be great. Now you can be good. Mediocre. And that's good.
Best
Black
Good
Great
Had
Mediocre
Now
One time
Published
Time
Were
World
Writer
Writers
When I turned 59, I looked at that as the first day of my 60th year, so I've been 60 for the last 365 days, in my opinion. So I've been thinking all this year, I'm 60 - this is the time when I need to get some stuff done.
Been
Day
Days
Done
First
Get
In my opinion
Last
Looked
Need
Opinion
Some
Stuff
Thinking
When you deal with a person who's experiencing dementia, you can see where they're struggling with knowledge. You can see what they forget completely, what they forget but they know what they once knew. You can tell how they're trying to remember.
Deal
Dementia
Experiencing
Forget
How
Knew
Know
Knowledge
Once
Person
Remember
See
Struggling
Tell
I'm almost completely without family and it's a very odd feeling in life. I have no children.
Almost
Children
Family
Feeling
Life
Odd
Very
Without
Losing my parents really set me adrift in more ways than one. It's not just losing them. It's losing the possibility of family.
Family
Just
Losing
Me
More
Parents
Possibility
Really
Set
Than
Them
Ways
My father's life was so decimated by his earliest experiences. His mother died when he was 7 years old, which he always said was the worst experience in his life. When he was 8, his father disappeared and he was on his own from the age of 8.
Age
Always
Died
Disappeared
Earliest
Experience
Experiences
Father
He
His
Life
Mother
Old
Own
All writing is that structure of revelation. There's something you want to find out. If you know everything up front in the beginning, you really don't need to read further if there's nothing else to find out.
Beginning
Else
Everything
Find
Front
Further
In the beginning
Know
Need
Nothing
Out
Read
Really
Revelation
There's many things that I am. And all of those things come together at some point. If somebody wants to limit me, you know and they'll say, 'Well, this is Walter Mosley, the mystery writer.' I don't like that. Because I do many things.
Am
Because
Come
I am
Know
Like
Limit
Many
Me
Mystery
Point
Say
Some
Somebody
I took up writing to escape the drudgery of that every day cubicle kind of war.
Day
Drudgery
Escape
Every
Every day
Kind
Took
Up
War
Writing
I don't ever know where I'm going. Because one of the wonderful things about writing, which is different than working in programming, you don't need to know. You could just write and discover where you're going. And it's a great deal of fun.
About
Because
Could
Deal
Different
Discover
Ever
Fun
Going
Great
Great deal
Just
Know
Need
I've written a lot of really good books. Now we'll see if I can write any more good books. I mean there's a chance I won't, but I'm going to try.
Any
Books
Chance
Going
Good
I can
Lot
Mean
More
Now
Really
See
Try
Write
We live in capitalism, and capitalism is defined by the production line, and the production line is defined by specificity. If you see yourself as an artist, which I do, then you can't be limited by that. You can't let somebody tell you, 'Well, you can only draw this kind of picture or write that kind of book.'
Artist
Book
Capitalism
Defined
Draw
Kind
Limited
Line
Live
Only
Picture
Production
See
Somebody
I've always loved science fiction. I think the smartest writers are science fiction writers dealing with major things.
Always
Dealing
Fiction
Fiction writers
I think
Loved
Major
Science
Science fiction
Science fiction writers
Smartest
Things
Think
Writers
My hero in comic books is Jack Kirby: 'Spider-Man,' 'Fantastic Four,' 'Captain America,' Marvel Comics. He was really the basis for Marvel Comics.
America
Basis
Books
Captain
Captain america
Comic
Comic books
Comics
Fantastic
Four
He
Hero
Jack
Marvel
A lot of people... kind of make heroes that are separate from us, people who are, you know, like... John Wayne and Errol Flynn and, you know, Denzel Washington... people who are different, who are larger than life.
Denzel
Denzel washington
Different
Heroes
John
John wayne
Kind
Know
Larger
Life
Like
Lot
Make
People
HBO and I have a deal to at least try to make a television series from the Leonid McGill stories. We're going to start with the first novel, 'The Long Fall.'
Deal
Fall
First
Going
Hbo
Least
Long
Make
Novel
Series
Start
Stories
Television
Television series
I would have been completely brainwashed by this lopsided and racist view of the world if it weren't for my father. He was a deep thinker and an irrepressible problem solver. He was a Black Socrates, asking why and then spoiling ready-made replies.
Asking
Been
Black
Brainwashed
Deep
Father
He
Problem
Ready-made
Socrates
Then
Thinker
View
Were
My father cared about the world he lived in, and so he admitted his confusion about his place in America because he didn't want me to make the same mistake in my life.
About
Admitted
America
Because
Cared
Confusion
Father
He
His
Life
Lived
Make
Me
Mistake
When I went to school, there were no Black philosophers, at least none that I was aware of, who were recognized by Western universities.
Aware
Black
Least
None
Philosophers
Recognized
School
Universities
Were
Western
Who
My father always taught by telling stories about his experiences. His lessons were about morality and art and what insects and birds and human beings had in common. He told me what it meant to be a man and to be a Black man. He taught me about love and responsibility, about beauty, and how to make gumbo.
About
Always
Art
Be a man
Beauty
Beings
Birds
Black
Common
Experiences
Father
Had
He
His
All of the philosophers I studied were white (with a few Eastern exceptions), and, for that matter, they were all male. Africa, the cradle of civilization, seemed to have no footing in the highest form of human thought.
Africa
Civilization
Cradle
Eastern
Exceptions
Few
Footing
Form
Highest
Highest form
Human
Human thought
Male
Matter

Walter Mosley books

John Woman

John Woman

Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins Mystery)

Devil in a Blue Dress (Easy Rawlins Mystery)

Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery (Easy Rawlins Series)

Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery (Easy Rawlins Series)

Down the River unto the Sea

Down the River unto the Sea

This Year You Write Your Novel

This Year You Write Your Novel

A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

47

47

White Butterfly: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

White Butterfly: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Black Betty: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Black Betty: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Gone Fishin': An Easy Rawlins Novel (6) (Easy Rawlins Mystery)

Gone Fishin': An Easy Rawlins Novel (6) (Easy Rawlins Mystery)

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey

Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Little Green: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Walter Mosley essays

Read more informative topics on our blog
The American Wish By Walt Mosley Dissertation
In Walter Mosley's novel Devil in a Green Dress drafted in 1948, the impact of money acts as a major motif in the novel. Mosley uses Easy Rawlins, an Black man as the protagonist of the book. The story is a rendering of multiple inequalities between race and power. The plot begins in the book when Convenient loses his job creating him to do anything in order to build an income and produce mortgage payments. His life is noticed to exhibit some type of transformation; Easy was able to convert from being a laborer into a detective. With each of Mosley's primary characters mesmerized by cash and..
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