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Miami Blues (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 2 Aug 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141199016
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141199016
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,114,323 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Extraordinarily winning ... Pure pleasure ... Mr. Willeford never puts a foot wrong (The New Yorker )

A Graham Greene-like entertainment, but tougher and funnier, softened by neither simile nor sentiment. This is probably as close to the real now Miami as any thriller is likely to come (Donald Justice )

Hoke Moseley is a magnificently battered hero. Willeford brings him to us lean and hard and brand-new (Donald E. Westlake )

Pure pleasure... Mr. Willeford never puts a foot wrong (The New Yorker )

From the Inside Flap

After a brutal day investigating a quadruple homicide, Detective Hoke Moseley settles into his room at the un-illustrious El Dorado Hotel and nurses a glass of brandy. With his guard down, he doesn't think twice when he hears a knock on the door. The next day, he finds himself in the hospital, badly bruised and with his jaw wired shut. He thinks back over ten years of cases wondering who would want to beat him into unconsciousness, steal his gun and badge, and most importantly, make off with his prized dentures. But the pieces never quite add up to revenge, and the few clues he has keep connecting to a dimwitted hooker, and her ex-con boyfriend and the bizarre murder of a Hare Krishna pimp.
Chronically depressed, constantly strapped for money, always willing to bend the rules a bit, Hoke Moseley is hardly what you think of as the perfect cop, but he is one of the the greatest detective creations of all time. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charles Willeford's influential Miami Blues might just be a pulp thriller, but it's a terrific pulp thriller that's a joy to read: lean without being trimmed to the bone, perfectly paced and with a distinctive voice you want to listen to. It takes a deceptively simple approach, with a classic alternating chapter structure moving back and forth between criminal and cop and a clear, clean use of language with no room for purple prose that manages to get right inside his two protagonists' heads as they alternate between being hunter and prey. The story may hinge on one huge coincidence, but Willeford makes it play so beautifully - and makes its blithe psychopath so casually aware of the unlikeliness of that coincidence - that it works like a dream.

Freddy Fenger Jr. is a career criminal smart enough to serve out his sentence in full rather than risk an extra ten years on his next sentence when he'd inevitably get caught breaking parole and to take the prison warden's advice to move to another state so he'll be a first time offender there when he does get caught. All he wants is to have some fun before he gets caught. If that means killing to do it, it's not a problem since Freddy is the kind of sociopath who can fake emotions well enough for someone as simple minded as the young hooker he drifts into a `platonic marriage' with but not well enough to fake out the cop investigating her brother's bizarre murder. What neither knows is that Freddy was the one who killed her brother - not that he intended to, the man dying of shock after Freddy broke his finger for putting a pinhole in the new jacket he'd just bought with money he'd stolen from another man he unwittingly left dead. Not that that bothers him when he does find out.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Charles Willeford, has something of cult status in terms of detective fiction, being often credited with pathfinding for Elmore Leonard , Carl Hiaasen and other writers who followed him in this genre. Of it's kind, there is no doubt it is a classic.

"Miami Blues," is generally considered as his best work, (subsequently made into a movie,) featuring the detective Hoke Moseley, Frederick J Frenger Jr an unscrupulous violent criminal and Susan Waggoner is the student, sometimes hooker. The cast list is expertly carved and developed into an exhilarating ride of a book, which has all the ingredients into a compulsive read. It is not without a sprinkling of mordant wit, which has the effect of binding the story and elevating it into a classic.

The story begins with "Junior" who after stealing three wallets, and planning a new life in Miami, snatches a suitcase, leaving a corpse behind at the airport.
Detective Moseley is on the case, pursuing Junior and the aforementioned, Susan Waggoner, through luxury hotels and the intimidating streets of Miami.

Willeford, conveys perfectly, the coincidence of chance, it's sometimes disastrous violent consequences, it's often comic background but throughout filled with characters, magnificently portrayed and entertaining.
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By J. Mcdonald TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 2 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I read this novel in one straight sitting - something I rarely do - and really enjoyed it.

I hadn't heard of Charles Willeford until I picked this up; his writing is soundly based on straightforward storytelling, with no showy stylisation; characters are believable - chillingly so in the case of the young psychotic Freddy - and the plot is both spare and credible, despite the bizarre sequence of events and coincidences in the opening chapters. Laced with dark humour, the pacing is effective and the atmosphere of Florida's seedier side is credibly described. Homicide detective Hoke Moseley is a likable character and although this is really at base just a standard detective story, it is a polished, superior example, written with such understated skill and elegance - well-deserving of the "modern classic" label.

I`ll be looking for the rest of the Hoke Moseley novels and I thoroughly recommend this book to any crime-fiction enthusiast who hasn't tried Willeford yet.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What makes a psychopath? Jon Ronson explored this in his 2012 `The Psychopath Test', but Charles Willeford was doing the same back in the 80s with `Miami Blues', because Freddy 'Junior' Frenger is one cold psychopath. Junior is just out of a Californian jail and he heads over to Florida. He knows that one day he will go back to jail again, because that is what he does, but did he really need to snap the finger of that Hari Krishna? Who can capture this sociopath? Old Blue Teeth, Detective Hoke Moseley, will have a go, but this is a time before his teeth went blue and may just explain why it happened.

`Miami Blues' is a disturbing and sinister book that is brilliantly written. It has a lizard like ease, painting a picture of a grubby 80s Miami that is as inviting as a sleeping bag made out of razor blades. Hoke is a great hero, all slobbish and down on his looks (luck); just a homicide cop trying to get by. He is treated to one of the most chilling foes I have read in noir fiction. Freddy is plainly a psychopath with no understanding of emotion; he goes about doing things to better his own life no matter the cost to others. Willeford does not try to sex Junior up, he keeps him plain and almost business-like in his criminal activities, this makes the character far more fearsome.

The fact that Hoke is either unaware of any threat or scared of it makes the book even more compelling. Throw in the fact that Willeford makes the book seem just like one small story in a cesspit of crime and the entire book has a compelling and daunting feel. Willeford was a master of description, like Robert B Parker, but no need for the humour. The fact that Junior is so inhuman and Hoke is so flawed makes `Miami Blues' and the rest of the Hoke series of books some of best crime noir of all time.

Sammy Recommendation
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