The return of Easy Rawlins

February 9, 2013

For a writer who got started late, Walter Mosley has never had trouble staying busy.

Although the 61-year-old author didn’t pick up his pen until he was in his mid-30s, Mosley has already written more than 37 books, including works of science fiction, young adult fiction, politically driven non-fiction, erotica and a graphic novel co-authored with comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Mosley has written plays, too, the most recent of which, Fall of Heaven, will open at Chicago’s Congo Square Theatre later this month.

But Mosely is best known – and most beloved among his fans, including former President Bill Clinton – for his best-selling Easy Rawlins detective series. Rawlins, a hard-boiled black private eye and World War II veteran, solves mysteries while exposing the racial inequalities of America in the 1940s, ‘50s and ‘60s. Mosley, who grew up the son of a white, Jewish mother and a black father in 1950s L.A., was no stranger to such inequalities. In 1965, he witnessed the race riots in Watts firsthand.

Fans were disappointed when Mosley retired the Easy Rawlins series with 2007’s Blonde Faith – and elated when he revealed he would resurrect the series with a new novel due to come out in May. Mosley came to Chicago last month, and during his talk at Chicago Public Library he gave a sneak peek at his forthcoming novel and revealed its title – Little Green. This latest edition of the Rawlins’ saga finds the detective recovering from a car wreck and near-death experience, and according to the publisher’s website, “cruising the hippified streets of the Sunset Strip circa 1967, in search of a young black man who has gone missing.”

You can hear Mosley read the first chapter of Little Green in the audio above. You'll have to wait until May to find out what happens next. That's when the book comes out, and when Mosley says he'll be back to read  chapter two.

Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Walter Mosley spoke at an event presented by Chicago Public Library in January. Click here to hear the event in its entirety.