14 Best Walter Mosley Books

Walter Mosley Books: Walter Ellis Mosley is an American novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction. He has written a series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins

Walter Mosley Books

Devil in a Blue Dress: An Easy Rawlins Novel Jun 11, 2010 by Walter Mosley

Devil in a Blue Dress, a defining novel in Walter Mosley’s bestselling Easy Rawlins mystery series, was adapted into a TriStar Pictures film starring Denzel Washington as Easy Rawlins and Don Cheadle as Mouse.

Set in the late 1940s, in the African-American community of Watts, Los Angeles, Devil in a Blue Dress follows Easy Rawlins, a black war veteran just fired from his job at a defense plant. Easy is drinking in a friend’s bar, wondering how he’ll meet his mortgage, when a white man in a linen suit walks in, offering good money if Easy will simply locate Miss Daphne Monet, a blonde beauty known to frequent black jazz clubs.

The Awkward Black Man: Stories Sep 15, 2020 by Walter Mosley

With his extraordinary fiction and gripping television writing, Walter Mosley has proven himself a master of narrative tension. The Awkward Black Man collects seventeen of Mosley’s most accomplished short stories to showcase the full range of his remarkable talent. Touching, contemplative, and always surprising, these stories introduce an array of imperfect characters—awkward, self-defeating, elf-involved, or just plain odd.

In The Awkward Black Man, Mosley overturns the stereotypes that corral black male characters and paints subtle, powerful portraits of unique individuals. In “The Good News Is,” a man’s insecurity about his weight gives way to illness and a loneliness so intense that he’d do anything for a little human comfort. “Pet Fly,” previously published in the New Yorker, follows a man working as a mailroom clerk—a solitary job for which he is overqualified—and the unforeseen repercussions he endures when he attempts to forge a new connection. And “Almost Alyce” chronicles failed loves, family loss, alcoholism, and a Zen approach to the art of begging that proves surprisingly effective.

Trouble Is What I Do (Leonid McGill) Feb 25, 2020 by Walter Mosley

Leonid McGill’s spent a lifetime building up his reputation in the New York investigative scene. His seemingly infallible instinct and inside knowledge of the crime world make him the ideal man to help when Phillip Worry comes knocking.

Phillip “Catfish” Worry is a 92-year-old Mississippi bluesman who needs Leonid’s help with a simple task: deliver a letter revealing the black lineage of a wealthy heiress and her corrupt father. Unsurprisingly, the opportunity to do a simple favor while shocking the prevailing elite is too much for Leonid to resist.

But when a famed and feared assassin puts a hit on Catfish, Leonid has no choice but to confront the ghost of his own felonious past. Working to protect his client and his own family, Leonid must reach the heiress on the eve of her wedding before her powerful father kills those who hold their family’s secret.

A Red Death: An Easy Rawlins Novel Jun 11, 2010 by Walter Mosley

It’s 1953 in Red-baiting, blacklisting Los Angeles—a moral tar pit ready to swallow Easy Rawlins. Easy is out of the hurting business and into the housing (and favor) business when a racist IRS agent nails him for tax evasion. Special Agent Darryl T. Craxton, FBI, offers to bail him out if he agrees to infiltrate the First American Baptist Church and spy on alleged communist organizer Chaim Wenzler. That’s when the murders begin….

The Long Fall: The First Leonid McGill Mystery (Leonid McGill series Book 1) Jan 17, 2009 by Walter Mosley

Leonid McGill is an ex-boxer and a hard drinker looking to clean up his act. He’s an old-school P.I. working a New York City that’s gotten a little too fancy all around him. But it’s still full of dirty secrets, and as McGill unearths them, his commitment to the straight and narrow is going to be tested to the limit…

Down the River unto the Sea Feb 20, 2018 by Walter Mosley

Joe King Oliver was one of the NYPD’s finest investigators, until, dispatched to arrest a well-heeled car thief, he is framed for assault by his enemies within the NYPD, a charge which lands him in solitary at Rikers Island.

A decade later, King is a private detective, running his agency with the help of his teenage daughter, Aja-Denise. Broken by the brutality he suffered and committed in equal measure while behind bars, his work and his daughter are the only light in his solitary life. When he receives a card in the mail from the woman who admits she was paid to frame him those years ago, King realizes that he has no choice but to take his own case: figuring out who on the force wanted him disposed of — and why.

And Sometimes I Wonder About You: A Leonid McGill Mystery (Leonid McGill series Book 5) May 12, 2015 by Walter Mosley


     In the fifth Leonid McGill novel, Leonid finds himself in an unusual pickle of trying to balance his cases with his chaotic personal life. Leonid’s father is still out there somewhere, and his wife is in an uptown sanitarium trying to recover from the deep depression that led to her attempted suicide in the previous novel. His wife’s condition has put a damper on his affair with Aura Ullman, his girlfriend. And his son, Twill, has been spending a lot of time out of the office with his own case, helping a young thief named Fortune and his girlfriend, Liza.

John Woman Sep 4, 2018 by Walter Mosley

At twelve years old, Cornelius Jones, the son of an Italian-American woman and a black man from Mississippi, secretly takes over his father’s job at a silent film theater in New York’s East Village—until the innocent scheme goes tragically wrong. Years later, his dying father imparts this piece of wisdom to Cornelius: The person who controls the narrative of history controls their own fate.

After his father dies and his mother disappears, Cornelius sets about reinventing himself—becoming Professor John Woman, a man who will spread his father’s teachings through the classrooms of an unorthodox southwestern university and beyond. But there are other individuals who are attempting to influence the narrative of John Woman, and who might know something about the facts of his hidden past.
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Bad Boy Brawly Brown: An Easy Rawlins Mystery Jul 1, 2003 by Walter Mosley

Young Brawly Brown has traded in his family for The Clan of the First Men, a group rejecting white leadership and laws. Brown’s mom asks Easy to make sure her baby’s okay, and Easy promises to find him. His first day on the case, Easy comes face-to-face with a corpse, and before he knows it he is a murder suspect and in the middle of a police raid. Brawly Brown is clearly the kind of trouble most folks try to avoid. It takes everything Easy has just to stay alive as he explores a world filled with betrayals and predators like he never imagined.

Fear of the Dark: A Novel (Fearless Jones Book 3) Sep 19, 2006 by Walter Mosley

“I’m in trouble, Paris.” Paris Minton has heard these words before. They mean only one thing: that his neck is on the line too. So when they are uttered by his lowlife cousin Ulysses S. Grant, Paris keeps the door firmly closed. With family like Ulysses — useless to everyone except his mother — who needs enemies?

But trouble always finds an open window, and when “Useless” Ulysses’ mother, Three Hearts, shows up from Louisiana to look for her son, Paris has no choice but to track down his wayward cousin. Finding a con artist like Useless is easier said than done. But with the aid of his ear-to-the-ground friend Fearless Jones, Paris gets a hint that Useless may have expanded his range of enterprise to include blackmail.

Fear Itself: A Fearless Jones Novel Jul 1, 2003 by Walter Mosley

‘Will not disappoint fans of the Easy Rawlins series…The prose is taut and sinewy and Mosley effortlessly creates a classic noir setting’ Douglas Field, Big Issue Paris Minton is a man who would rather walk away from trouble, but in 1950s’ Los Angeles, it just comes and finds you. Fearless Jones turns up on Paris’s doorstep one night asking him to help an attractive woman find her husband. One night later a stranger shows up looking for the same man. It isn’t long before Paris is running for his life, and it looks like even his friend Fearless might not be able to save him.

Cinnamon Kiss: A Novel (Easy Rawlins Book 10) Sep 1, 2005 by Walter Mosley

It is the Summer of Love and Easy Rawlins is contemplating robbing an armored car. It’s farther outside the law than Easy has ever traveled, but his daughter, Feather, needs a medical treatment that costs far more than Easy can earn or borrow in time. And his friend Mouse tells him it’s a cinch.

Then another friend, Saul Lynx, offers a job that might solve Easy’s problem without jail time. He has to track the disappearance of an eccentric, prominent attorney. His assistant of sorts, the beautiful “Cinnamon” Cargill, is gone as well. Easy can tell there is much more than he is being told: Robert Lee, his new employer, is as suspect as the man who disappeared. But his need overcomes all concerns, and he plunges into unfamiliar territory, from the newfound hippie enclaves to a vicious plot that stretches back to the battlefields of Europe.

Fearless Jones Jun 5, 2001 by Walter Mosley

Mosley returns to mysteries at last with his most engaging hero since Easy Rawlins. When Paris Minton meets a beautiful new woman, before he knows it he has been beaten up, slept with, shot at, robbed, and his bookstore burned to the ground. He’s in so much trouble he has no choice but to get his friend, Fearless Jones, out of jail to help him.

Known to Evil: A Leonid McGill Mystery (Leonid McGill series Book 2) Jan 25, 2010 by Walter Mosley

When New York private eye Leonid McGill is hired to check up on a vulnerable young woman, all he discovers is a bloody crime scene-and the woman gone missing. His client doesn’t want her found. The reason will put everything McGill cherishes in harm’s way: his family, his friends, and his very soul.o.