'I'm Writing About Black Male Heroes': The Playboy Conversation with Walter Mosley

‘I’m Writing About Black Male Heroes’: The Playboy Conversation with Walter Mosley

The characters that people Walter Mosley’s books have been portrayed by Denzel Washington and Laurence Fishburne; judging by a recent Playboy Interview, Samuel L. Jackson will soon join that list. Mosley, whose roots are Jewish and African-American, is best known for Easy Rawlins, the Los Angeles private detective who was chiselled on screen in Carl Franklin’s 1995 classic Devil with a Blue Dress. Charcoal Joe sees the staunch investigator uncovering a mystery in late ‘60s L.A; it’s Easy’s fourteenth outing and Mosley’s fiftieth. It’s a fine, twisty gumbo of violence, sex and much more. Both literary and mass-market, Mosley’s work ranges from nonfiction political polemic to sci-fi via erotica. His raw, musical voice has inspired prisoners, politicians (notably Bill Clinton, who once called Mosley his favorite writer) and athletes (like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Junot Diaz hails him as a master. Mosley was in a good-humored, candid mood when he took our call from the road, on…