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Walter Mosley makes stops in L.A. tonight, Thursday

March 9, 2011 | 11:41 am

Waltermosley_mlk Walter Mosley, known for the iconic South L.A. detective Easy Rawlins -- featured in "Devil in a Blue Dress" and other works -- actually spends most of his time in New York these days. So do his novels -- particularly the Leonid McGill mystery series, which had its third installment, "When the Thrill is Gone," appear on shelves this week.

Mosley too will be making a couple of appearances here in L.A. On Wednesday, he will read and sign books at Vroman's in Pasadena at 7 p.m. On Thursday, he'll be at Eso Won Books in Leimert Park -- Easy Rawlins territory -- at 7 p.m. Both events are free.

Mosley grew up in Los Angeles; he was 13 during the 1965 Watts riots, which figure in the Easy Rawlins mystery "Little Scarlet." He told Powells.com about his two significant memories of that time:

The first is that I was a member of an acting group called the Afro-American Traveling Actors Assn., and at the height of the riots we went down to perform our play. But nobody was going to plays because they were either rioting or fighting rioting or hiding from rioting. So we drove back to West Los Angeles right through the riots. I saw all the fighting and police and people lying unconscious or, you know, dead on the street, and all that kind of stuff.

But that had less of an impact on me than the night I came into a room and found my father drinking and sobbing. And I said, "What's wrong?" And he said, "It's the riots." "Are you afraid?" I said. And he goes, "No, I want to go out there and riot. I want to fight. I want to burn. I want to shoot at these people." And I was very afraid, and I said, "Are you going to?" And he went, "No, I'm not, because it's wrong to hurt people you don't know, who may not deserve it, and it's wrong to burn down your own property. But I want to," he said. And that had a really big impact on me.

But that was then. For now, he's focused on McGill. Look for our review of "When the Thrill is Gone" in the coming weeks.


Walter Mosley: From Easy to Leonid

Bookstore of the Week: Eso Won Books

Liberty Hill Foundation to honor Walter Mosley

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Walter Mosley at the 25th annual Brooklyn tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. at BAM Howard Gilman Opera House on Jan.17. Credit: Astrid Stawiarz / Getty Images