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The Way We Die Now (Hoke Moseley #4)

4.06  ·  Rating Details  ·  526 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
Look the Part. Die the Part.

A three-year-old murder case was coming together nicely. A killer Hoke had once put in prison has moved into the house across the street. And Hoke Moseley's daughter has blue hair. But now Hoke has to walk away from his life and pretend to be a bum. Turns out it isn't hard.

Hoke hands over his teeth, wallet, and gun on the hot Tamiani Trail -- th
Paperback, 289 pages
Published March 1st 1996 by Dell (first published 1988)
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James Thane
This is the fourth and, sadly, the last entry in Charles Willeford’s series featuring Miami homicide detective Hoke Moseley. Hoke, to put it mildly, does not remotely resemble the homicide detectives that one usually encounters in crime fiction. Certainly, he’s nothing like Sonny Crockett and the other detectives of the television show, Miami Vice, which was so wildly popular at the same time this series was written.

Hoke is middle-aged and overweight; he dresses in leisure suits that be buys on
Nov 22, 2010 Kirk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great title---one of the best interextual noir spins on another title ever, in fact. Every time I think of Trollope (or John W. Aldridge, who copped THE WAY WE LIVE NOW from Trol), I think of Willeford, in the same way I can't think of "Stairway to Heaven" without conjuring the B-H Sufers' "Hairway to Steven." The novel itself is deceptively ramshackle. Subplots come and go, conflicts taper off, the prologue featuring the dastardly villain seems to have no relevance ... until, anyway, the hero i ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Greg rated it it was ok
I was hoping that Charles Willeford might be my post-Parker (I mean Richard Stark's Parker novels, not either of the two mystery authors with the past name Parker, neither of whom I've ever read) author but my first experience with the "Master of Mystery" wasn't very promising.

A lot of people seem to like Willeford an awful lot, and Donald Westlake, the name who when he's feeling dark puts on the hat of Richard Stark, praises Willeford as just about a bona fide genius in the genre. This makes m
Sep 28, 2014 Tfitoby rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-as-night
It's a crying shame that Charles Willeford went and died just as this series of Hoke Moseley novels was getting going. The Way We Die Now is the fourth and final chapter in Moseley's life on the Miami Police force in the 80s, and as usual you're treated to some fine existential musings, some witty commentary on the changing face of America and Moseley solving crimes in a largely straight forward manner.

The book opens with a chapter describing two men killing animals and people, setting the scene
Craig Pittman
Dec 21, 2014 Craig Pittman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I have a new definition of "tragedy," now: The fact that Charles Willeford died just as this book was published in 1988, so he was never able to pen another one/

Willeford, whom some credit with being the father of the modern Florida crime novel, led a wild life. He won a Purple Heart as a tank commander at the Battle of the Bulge, served in the military off and on for 20 years, studied art, taught creative writing, reviewed mysteries for the Miami Herald, and at various times worked as a fl
Andrew Nette
Feb 27, 2013 Andrew Nette rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Writers and readers are always bitching about the size of our to-be-read (TBR) piles.

I’m not sure if it’s related to the fact that there’s more books available, if they’re easier to access electronically or via on-line bookstores like Booktopia, or whether social media means we just need something to talk about, to look busy, so hell, why not talk about how we’ve just added another book to our TBR list.

Whatever, the upshot is it’s rare for many of us, well, for me anyway, to find ourselves in a
Dec 01, 2011 Tracie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
I really, really tried to make this book last since it's the last of the Hoke Moseley books and as you know from my previous reviews, I've developed a little crush thing on the guy, but I couldn't put it down. I'm so sad to be done with it. Feels a little weird writing this review so soon. Body's still warm, etc.

By this, the 4th book, I was starting to notice a pattern. And I don't mean that in a bad way. It was a pattern I liked: the first chapter obscurely references what will be the main cri
Dec 12, 2015 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-thriller
The Way We Die Now (1988) is the fourth and last of Charles Willeford’s Hoke Moseley crime novels; it was published just before Willeford’s death. Hoke is homicide detective sergeant in Miami homicide with a strange home life: he lives with his two teenage daughters, his former partner Ellita, and Ellita’s infant son by another man. Hoke’s relationship with Ellita is platonic and motivated by cost sharing.

Hoke has been assigned to the murder of Dr. Paul Russell in his own driveway. Prior to the
Apr 23, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 05, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this 4 stars because I liked it more and more as I got into it. It takes a while to adjust to this particular brand of noir...but you do get hooked on Hoke.
I never met Charlie Willeford but I knew his third wife when I lived in Miami and she was a very spicy person with a quick wit. I wasn't even meaning to read a Miami book right now but in a Library of America omnibus of crime stories I read one of Willeford's first, and it was so unusual and haunting that I went looking for more.
Feb 24, 2013 Cbj rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It felt like Willeford wrote parts of this book in his sleep. I am not criticizing him. But its just that the two major crime investigations in THE WAY WE DIE NOW seemed to be arbitrarily written. Almost as if Willeford was saying - Hey look, I wanted to write this existential novel about a detective in Florida but then nobody would read it, so I am including a couple of ridiculous and over the top crime investigations so that my book would actually get published.

There is actually a short intro
Cathy DuPont
Aug 16, 2012 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles Willeford is considered 'hard-boiled' which is 'my genre' and I really liked this book more because it's set in Florida. South Florida but Florida nevertheless and I'm drawn to Florida books and writers.

Sgt. Hoke Moseley, Miami PD, is THE Man. He's real, in part, because of Willeford's sparse writing. I love this character who had his teeth in the first of the series, lost them, bought some expensive 'chopper' then and lost them and can't afford to buy more on his police salary. A good
Aug 13, 2011 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow. Might become my favorite book in this series (aside from the brilliant first one), a hugely under-looked series of crime novels set in Florida. I always tell friends that reading Willeford is something like if Werner Herzog wrote noir fiction. Both amoral and almost humanistic, or at least psychologically astute. His books are also strange, surreal, often funny, always fascinating. Anyway, this is the fourth and last in his series of Hoke Moseley novels. They are all great and should be rea ...more
Dec 29, 2009 Unbridled rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished the last of Willeford's Hoke Moseley novels with no small measure of regret. Going from Patterson to Willeford is like going from McDonald's (which might not be fair to McDonald's) to mom's home cooking (no Michelin stars but the stuff that makes the heart glow) - the difference between these two authors, both of whom write fiction that primarily 'entertains,' could not be starker. Willeford's prose is clean and evocative; he is brilliant with characterizations and detailing; he is fu ...more
Jan 06, 2010 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shockingly good. Excellent ending.

If true darkness of the human condition can be said to exist down there in the bright Florida sun, this is as close as one can get to capturing it on paper.

Strongly recommended. But if you are going to read a Hoke novel, read this one last.
Ron Hefner
Jun 07, 2015 Ron Hefner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's almost as much fun reading Willeford reviews as it is reading Willeford. Well, that's a bit of hyperbole, but the reviews are amusing, especially the negative ones. Some people simply don't get it. One reviewer says Willeford spends too much time on minutiae like descriptions of food. All I can say is, these little details are what give this series its "day in the life" quality. If you read back through the other three books in the series, food is a recurring topic. It adds a basic affirmat ...more
Mar 28, 2015 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The enjoyment I had reading this book was offset by the sorrow that this was the last of Charles Willeford's Hoke Moseley series. Willeford died shortly after its publication leaving behind a legacy of great noir crime back to the early fifties. After a long and varied career Willeford finally struck real commercial pay dirt with the Hoke series that began with the classic, Miami Blues, in the early 80s.

Willeford expertly tells his stories without resorting to cheap sentimentality; the "good" g
Dec 13, 2010 Matthew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Three and a half stars. I read Miami Blues years ago and thought it was brilliant and fun - a sociopathic con man and occasional haiku author goes on a crime spree with the stolen gun and badge (and false teeth!) of a curmudgeonly Miami police detective named Hoke Mosley, and opens with the death of a Hari Krishna from a broken finger. Great quirky pulp with lots of memorable moments that didn't take itself too seriously. The Way We Die Now doesn't have the hook and pace of the first novel in th ...more
Sep 21, 2012 wally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: willeford
this is...the 7th? from willeford for me...and i just finished another...that...i can't for the life of me remember the title of. heh! (New Hope for the Dead) it was a hoke moseley story, though...remember the second e there in his name, please...

and...glancing at the brief synopsis of this one, the timing of this one follows the one i just in that one, one storyline is hoke trying to find a place to conform to the rule regulation the whatnot that miami cops li
Nippy Katz
Jan 14, 2015 Nippy Katz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This, sad to say, was Willeford's final book. He died before he could write another. It's the last book by default in the delightful Hoke Moseley series. Moseley is unique among detectives. He's middle aged, not particularly good looking, a stick in the mud, a cheapskate, and can't turn a sardonic phrase. He also has dentures, cheap bluish dentures. In this story Moseley deals with brutal rednecks who enslave Haitian farm workers in the Keys and a new neighbor across the street whom he put in pr ...more
May 04, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As others have mentioned, it is a real shame that Charles Willeford only managed four Hoke Moseley books. Hoke is unlike other police detectives in the genre...he's like a real person, not a superman but competent withal. I strongly recommend all four of this series starting with Miami Blues. You won't be disappointed.
Dec 11, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Too bad this was the last Hoke Moseley novel, too bad Charles Willeford died just after it was published.
In Moseley, Willeford created a very human, very unique detective struggling every day with two teen daughters to raise. This book has a lot to recommend, suspense, humor, and both tough choices and no choices.
Patrick McCoy
Mar 30, 2013 Patrick McCoy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-noir, fiction
The Way We Die Now (1988) is the last Hoke Moseley novel as well as the last novel written by Charles Willeford. And, as usual it, was great to inhabit this downtrodden world of late 80s Florida with the engaging Hoke Moseley. It's too bad, because I can see that Willeford ended this novel with the possibility of continuing the series. There are three mysteries that Moseley solves through the course of the novel. However, in the process we gets some great descriptions of food, clothes, and subje ...more
May 23, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
TWWDN is American noir set in Miami, the final book in the series featuring the shambling but endearing character Hoke Mosely; the series began with "Miami Blues" in 1984 and ended with this novel, Willeford's last in 1988. The hallmark of CW's writing is the ease with which he sets up scenes, the simple detail he provides that portray the sultry setting which belie the surprises that the unflappable Mosely manages to discover.

CW is the kind of guy you would like to take a writing class form, ha
Apr 09, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quirky and hardboiled noir, I have really developed an appreciation of this author and his unique voice over time. Sadly, this book was the last in the four volume Hoke Moseley series, I would recommend reading the series in order starting with the great "Miami Blues". In my opinion, Moseley is as much of an original and well developed character as any in crime fiction, at least in terms of what I have read so far...
Jul 09, 2012 Aaron rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Way We Die by Charles Willeford A Hoke Moseley Novel, the last in the series. Hoke is a Miami police detective who lives with two teenage daughters. He solves a cold case murder and he goes undercover to deal with a super mean Florida farmer who mistreats his migrant workers. I liked this book. Hoke is a likable character who is a good but not a great detective who has his own internal pulls.
While Willeford's writing can be entertaining and somewhat engaging I just cannot get past the very racist way he describes and writes about many characters and the gross generalizations he makes about whole groups of people. I actually laughed out loud toward the end of the book when one character actually tells another that they're making generalizations, when in fact the author does this in much worse ways many other places throughout the book. While perhaps this is the main character, Hoke M ...more
I suspect the people who write disapproving reviews of Willeford's novels were expecting something closer to normal stories and characters. But Hoke Mosley is far from normal. This novel begins with a secret assignment and ends with major life changes for Hoke and his daughters. The story keeps you guessing, and the plot never goes where you expect it to go.
Jul 28, 2010 Whitney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everything a noir should be - sad, weird, violent, funny and difficult to predict. Willeford's Hoke Mosely novels play a tune in yr. head that's all their own, and this is the one that brings it all home, kind of like The Long Goodbye, set in Florida. Don't read this one first if you're going to read the series, though, because none of the rest quite measure up.
Mar 23, 2009 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alas, the last book in the Hoke series. It would have been nice to see where Willeford took this had he lived, but in any event TWWDN is a nice cap to the story, with another great Willeford ending that I didn't see coming.
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Charles Willeford was a remarkably fine, talented and prolific writer who wrote everything from poetry to crime fiction to literary criticism throughout the course of his impressively long and diverse career. His crime novels are distinguished by a mean'n'lean sense of narrative economy and an admirable dearth of sentimentality. He was born as Charles Ray Willeford III on January 2, 1919 in Little ...more
More about Charles Willeford...

Other Books in the Series

Hoke Moseley (5 books)
  • Miami Blues
  • New Hope for the Dead
  • Sideswipe: A Hoke Moseley Novel
  • Grimhaven

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