cover image Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Charcoal Joe: An Easy Rawlins Mystery

Walter Mosley, read by Michael Boatman. Random House Audio, 10 hrs., $40 ISBN 978-0-7352-0872-8

MWA Grand Master Mosley’s 14th Easy Rawlins mystery finds the unconventional, now middle-aged PI at the tail end of L.A.’s Swinging 60s, struggling with a broken heart (his wife-to-be opts for a return to her former partner), racist cops, crooked cops, murderous mobsters, deceitful informants, and a number of beautiful women eager to seduce him. Lucky for Easy, the author’s other series character, Fearless Jones, arrives to assist with charm and smooth efficiency. Reader Boatman, no stranger to Easy’s attitude—knowing, wry, and just a bit shy of sarcastic—adds that and more to the sleuth’s first-person narration. His Fearless has the lift of joyous optimism that comes from being able to accomplish just about any task. Mosley’s plot is more complex than Raymond Chandler at his most perplexing, but, as in Chandler’s books, there are enough unique characters and entertaining scenes to compensate for that. Boatman’s well-planned voices, pacing, and cool delivery make this a must for Easy fans. A Doubleday hardcover. (June)