Mosley, Walter Ellis

Walter Ellis Mosley (born January 12, 1952) 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, a black private investigator and World War II veteran living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles; they are perhaps his most popular works.

Mosley started writing at 34 and has written every day since, penning more than forty books and often publishing two books a year. He has written in a variety of fiction categories, including mystery and afrofuturist science fiction, as well as non-fiction politics. His work has been translated into 21 languages. His direct inspirations include the detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, Graham Greene and Raymond Chandler. Mosley’s fame increased in 1992 when then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton, a fan of murder mysteries, named Mosley as one of his favorite authors. Mosley made publishing history in 1997 by foregoing an advance to give the manuscript of Gone Fishin’ to a small, independent publisher, Black Classic Press in Baltimore, run by former Black Panther Paul Coates.

His first published book, Devil in a Blue Dress, was the basis of a 1995 movie starring Denzel Washington. The world premiere of his first play, The Fall of Heaven was staged at the Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, Ohio, in January, 2010.

Mosley has served on the board of directors of the National Book Awards.

Mosley is on the board of the TransAfrica Forum.

In 2010, there was a debate in academic literary circles as to whether Mosley’s work should be considered Jewish literature. Similar debate has occurred as to whether he should be described as a black author, given his status as a best-selling writer. Mosley has said that he prefers to be called a novelist. He explains his desire to write about “black male heroes” saying “hardly anybody in America has written about black male heroes… There are black male protagonists and black male supporting characters, but nobody else writes about black male heroes.”

Easy Rawlins mysteries

Devil in a Blue Dress (1990)
A Red Death (1991)
White Butterfly (1992)
Black Betty (1994)
A Little Yellow Dog (1996)
Gone Fishin’ (1997)
Bad Boy Brawly Brown (2002)
Six Easy Pieces (2003)
Little Scarlet (2004)
Cinnamon Kiss (2005)
Blonde Faith (2007)
Little Green (2013)
Rose Gold (2014)
Charcoal Joe (2016)

Fearless Jones mysteries

Fearless Jones (2001)
Fear Itself (2003)
Fear of the Dark (2006)

Leonid McGill mysteries

The Long Fall (2009)
Known to Evil (2010)
When the Thrill Is Gone (2011)
All I Did Was Shoot My Man (2012)
And Sometimes I Wonder About You (2015)

Science fiction

Blue Light (1998)
Futureland: Nine Stories of an Imminent World (2001)
The Wave (2005)
47 (2005)

Socrates Fortlow books

Always Outnumbered, Always Outgunned (1997)
Walkin’ the Dog (1999)
The Right Mistake (2008)

For young adults

47 (2005)

Other novels

RL’s Dream (1995)
The Man in My Basement (2004)
Walking the Line (2005), a novella in the Transgressions series
Fortunate Son (2006)
The Tempest Tales (2008)
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey (2010)
Parishioner (2012)
Debbie Doesn’t Do It Anymore (2014)
Inside a Silver Box (2015)


Killing Johnny Fry: A Sexistential Novel (2006)
Diablerie (2007)


‘The Fall of Heaven, Samuel French, 2011
‘Lift’, World Premiere at Crossroads Theatre Company on April 10, 2014.

Non-fiction books

Workin’ on the Chain Gang: Shaking off the Dead Hand of History (2000)
What Next: An African American Initiative Toward World Peace (2003)
Life Out of Context: Which Includes a Proposal for the Non-violent Takeover of the House of Representatives (2006)
This Year You Write Your Novel (2007)
Twelve Steps Toward Political Revelation (2011) ISBN 978-1-56858-642-7

Graphic novel

Maximum Fantastic Four (2005,with Stan Lee and Jack Kirby)

Crosstown to Oblivion

The Gift of Fire / On the Head of a Pin, Tor Books, 2012
Merge / Disciple, Tor Books, 2012
Stepping Stone / The Love Machine, Tor Books, 2013