Anne Bonny #BookReview Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley 5* #EasyRawlins #Series #14 #CrimeFiction @wnbooks ‘As always from the author a complex, deeply layered mystery. With characters just as sharp and quick witted’

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Charcoal Joe by Walter Mosley
My Own Copy
Synopsis:

Seymour Brathwaite, a young physicist, was found standing over the body of a murdered man.

Charcoal Joe, one of the deadliest men in America, wants Brathwaite cleared.

Easy Rawlins, a renowned Los Angeles PI, cannot refuse Charcoal Joe.

But what links the king of the LA underworld to Seymour Brathwaite?
And can Easy find the evidence before he gets embroiled in something much, much worse?

My Review:

I am a huge fan of Walter Mosley, I find his writing brilliant and his interviews very inspiring. I was so excited to finally catch up with the latest instalment in the Easy Rawlins series.

‘A professional detective with a bright future and a dark past’

The year is 1968, but the years never get any easier for Easy Rawlins. They usually bring news cases and more racial politics. Yet with this title, we the readers are also dealt an emotional blow in Easy’s love life. One that actually made me physically wince. Nothing is ever easy for Easy!

‘I been an outlaw since I was five’ – Mouse

I was glad to see the return of Mouse into a more central role in the case. There is also the added addition of Fearless Jones (a series I have yet to get too). Walter Mosley always introduces his characters with little backstories and they are sheer brilliance. This is one of my favourite dynamics of his writing style.

This particular novel revolves around Seymour Braithwaite a talented young physicist, who is found standing over the body of a murdered young man. When Charcoal Joe (one of the deadliest men in the USA) asks Easy to clear his name.
Easy knows this will be a complex case to solve.

‘Knowledge is the only real wealth any man can have; knowledge and the will to power’ – Charcoal Joe

Seymour is no easy mark to wrangle in, he believes the justice system in 1968, is just. He is young, impressionable and separated from the life Easy has known.
‘You think that PHD you got makes you immune from your skin’ – Easy to Seymour

As always from the author a complex, deeply layered mystery. With characters just as sharp and quick witted, they make me insanely jealous of the writer’s talent. 5*

WM
Walter Mosley
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Anne Bonny #BookReview Kindred by Octavia E. Butler 5* #TimeTravel #Slavery #DiverseLiterature @headlinepg ‘This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.’

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Kindred by Octavia. E Butler
My own copy
Synopsis:

In 1976, Dana dreams of being a writer. In 1815, she is assumed a slave.

When Dana first meets Rufus on a Maryland plantation, he’s drowning. She saves his life – and it will happen again and again.

Neither of them understands his power to summon her whenever his life is threatened, nor the significance of the ties that bind them.

And each time Dana saves him, the more aware she is that her own life might be over before it’s even begun.

Octavia E. Butler‘s ground-breaking masterpiece is the extraordinary story of two people bound by blood, separated by so much more than time.

My Review:

Kindred is such an exceptionally difficult novel to describe. Especially when it comes to the area of genre. It has themes of historical slavery, time travel and at it’s heart a beautiful romance between Dana and her husband Kevin.
Although it is tricky to describe and review, I urge you to buy a copy!
You won’t be disappointed.

It is June 9th 1976, Dana’s 26th birthday when she first meets Rufus. She saves his life from drowning in the river and is met with the threat of death via the barrel of a gun!
Dana then reappears in the modern day (1976). Was this a dream? An hallucination? Dana desperately tries to piece it all together. Rufus’s southern accent, the scenery etc.

Dana continues to be drawn and pulled back into the past every time Rufus encounters trouble. When Dana plays close attention to Rufus’s language and the dialogue of his conversations, she then realises, she is in a dark era of time. Dana is being transported back to 1815. Also not just any location but the Weylin Plantation where 38 slaves are held. This is an extremely dangerous era for Dana to be pulled into.

‘The possibility of meeting a white adult here frightened me, more than the possibility of street violence ever had at home’ – Dana

‘Paperless blacks were fair game for any white’

In the modern day (1976) Dana is married to Kevin Franklin. The story of who they met and fell in love is incorporated into the story. He is the only person to have physically witnessed Dana’s journeys into the past and has deep concern. It may be worth noting Dana is African American and Frank is white. Something Rufus refuses to believe, when she attempts to explain the future to him.

‘Rufus fear of death calls me to him, and my own fear of death sends me home’ – Dana

There are violent scenes and scenes where you see the KKK in all their evil glory. They are painful to read but describe the violence and dehumanisation that was inflicted upon slaves and free black people in 1815.

‘Strength. Endurance. To survive, my ancestors had to put up with more than I ever could. Much more’ – Dana

In the lucid moments in the present day (1976) Dana and her husband frantically search for a link between her past and Rufus’s. Their research leads them to believe there is in fact a biological connection of some sort between Dana and Rufus but how?

‘I was the worse possible guardian for him – a black to watch over him in a society that considered blacks subhuman. A woman to watch over him in a society that considered women perennial children’

This is a powerful novel. It is intelligent and generates deep thought. The hierarchy of slavery and violence is fully explored.
I shall leave some of the thought-provoking quotes I noted below. 5*

‘I never realised how easily people could be trained to accept slavery’ – Dana

‘There was no shame in raping a black woman, but there could be shame in loving one’

‘It was so easy to advise other people to live with their pain’ – Dana

‘I had no enforceable rights. None at all’ – Dana

OEB
Octavia E. Butler
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