Review: Walter Mosley, Showroom

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The author probably best known for his detective novels featuring private eye Easy Rawlins appeared at the Off the Shelf literary festival.

New Yorker Mosley is a prolific writer whose work spans genres from science fiction to non-fiction.

He read from new Easy Rawlins novel Little Green, in which he plucks his hero from the brink of death.

He admitted that he almost left Easy at the bottom of a cliff where he landed up in Blonde Faith.

He said: “In my head it was getting stale. I don’t imagine a book, I find it. I didn’t know he was going to be dead until just before I wrote it. All of a sudden he’s over the side of a mountain. It felt really good.

“About five or six years later I thought I can move Easy along in history to a time period that is almost modern, to Sunset Strip and the hippie movement. I felt I was able to look at the world in a different way.”

Mosley spoke of his frustration at dealing with TV and film producers who want to tone down the racism that is portrayed in his work.

As a black man in 1950s LA, Easy comes across racial prejudice – sometimes threatening his life – all the time.

Mosley points out that he is one of the few US authors to give a voice to black male heroes.

He said the election of President Obama has given young people hope that they could do it too but nothing much has changed in a country where millions of young black men are in the prison system.

He spoke of his anger at “immoral governments and corporations”.and likened present-day capitalism to white sugar. “It tastes pure but it will kill you.”