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Miami Blues (Hoke Moseley #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,170 Ratings  ·  146 Reviews
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 case ...more
Kindle Edition, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, 208 pages
Published 2009 by Random House (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Treasure of the Rubbermaids 10: Good Cop - Bad Cop

The on-going discoveries of priceless books and comics found in a stack of Rubbermaid containers previously stored and forgotten at my parent’s house and untouched for almost 20 years. Thanks to my father dumping them back on me, I now spend my spare time unearthing lost treasures from their plastic depths.

Junior Frenger has just gotten out of prison in California, and he promptly heads to Miami with a pocket full of stolen cash and credit cards
James Thane
With Miami Blues, veteran crime fiction writer Charles Willeford introduces Miami Homicide detective Hoke Moseley who has to rank as one of the most unique and interesting fictional homicide cops ever to work a case. He's middle-aged, divorced, poverty-stricken (because of the divorce) and living in a crappy hotel room. He's not particularly attractive and has little luck with women. (Did I mention that he wears dentures which he seems to be losing all too often?) Still, for all that, he's a ver ...more
Anthony Vacca
Sep 04, 2014 Anthony Vacca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miami Blues is a bacon-decked, cheese-drenched, all-beef burger with a side of crisp, greasy, cayenne-peppered fries and a combo-size (Xtra-large) plastic cup full of more whiskey than cola. In other words it's an off-beat, breezy crime novel that I swallowed more than chewed over the course of one evening of reading and drinking alone. One star is a burp, the next a congratulatory pat on my tummy, then a satisfied knick at my teeth with a toothpick, and the fourth the pleasant surprise of a few ...more
Dec 27, 2014 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014

I just want to go back to Okeechobee. All I’ve had is trouble of some kind or other ever since I came down here. What I’d say, if you asked me about Miami, I’d say it’s not a good place for a single girl to be.

Susan Waggoner has reasons aplenty to complain. She’s barely in her twenties, and she’s already a runaway from her small town in the Glades, has been abused by her own brother, had an abortion followed by a budding career in prostitution. And that’s all before she gets caught in a deadly
Check out the movie trailer and review @

This story is reminiscent of the novel the killer inside me by Jim Thompson, in that it features an anti-hero Freddy Frenger jr AkA Ramon Mendez a mean psychopath who is a compulsive liar and thief similar to Thompsons creation of Sheriff Lou Ford. You'd love to have these two mean specimens on the same page. The whole story plays out into one brutal and bloody series of events tak
Nov 02, 2013 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night
Charles Willeford's Hoke Moseley series starts off with a bang, it's a strange and twisted and outrageously funny at times bang too. His protagonist is a strange beast of a detective with all kinds of odd quirks and is a supporting character to the newly released criminal who spends the entire novel compulsively lying and cheating and making some of the craziest decisions you might expect to find in an Elmore Leonard criminal farce.

Willeford packs out the cast with some wonderfully drawn charact
After landing in Miami, Freddy Frenger Jr. (or Junior as he prefers to be called) steals three wallets and begins to plan his new life. While leaving the airport he snatches a suitcase and leaves a corpse of a Hare Krishna behind. Detective Hoke Moseley is on the case; chasing Junior and his new hooker girlfriend through luxury hotels and the suburban streets of Miami.

If this sounds really familiar then you’ve probably seen the 1990 movie of the same name starring Alec Baldwin and Jennifer Jason
Jun 16, 2008 Jordan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: crime fiction fans, Elmore Leonard fanatics
This book by Charles Willeford (along with The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins) is the basis of the great crime fiction of Elmore Leonard. He was heavily influenced by these two authors and it shows.

This is not to say that Leonard copied the style – instead he has improved upon the approach to writing that these authors have themselves mastered.

In Miami Blues, the reader spends just as much time with the bad guy as the good guy (maybe even more time..) and he seems like a real perso
Dec 17, 2015 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Contemporary Noir
Well written & an entertaining read. Just not AMAZING!

I'll likely read the other 4 books in this series, but I'm in no hurry to do so.

Not being a fan of series, i can't help but think this book would have been better if the effort put into writing all 5 books in the series, were condensed into one outstanding novel rather than diluted into 5.
Martyn Halm
Feb 20, 2014 Martyn Halm rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The quirky characters, the weird situations, the interaction. Junior Frenger, a freeloading sociopath recently released from prison, arrives in Miami, where he uses his skills at deception and violence to twist situations into his advantage.
Weary police detective Hoke Moseley investigates the carnage in Frenger's wake and falls victim himself, which leads to hilarious situations.

Strongly recommended to fans of Elmore Leonard and noir crime novels.
Feb 28, 2012 Stacy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's either my bias against Miami (and Florida as a whole) or the misogyny that runs through crime fiction, but this introduction to Willeford's work left me underwhelmed. Primarily this is because the world of vice in 1980s Miami, with its humidity drenched violence, misogyny, and nudge-nudge-wink-wink racism, while authentic and crisply written, is not a place I'd like to visit, even in fiction. That said, I'm willing to revisit more of Willeford's work. I liked his writing, the way Willeford ...more
Nov 19, 2015 Jim rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was attracted by the Elmore Leonard recommendation and can see why Leonard liked Williford.
Although I prefer Leonard as well as Jim Thompson, I will read a few more of this Hoke Moseley series.
Dec 29, 2014 Piker7977 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This was a very good "cop pursuing a villain" yarn. Freddy, who is an intelligent, adaptable, improvising, psychopathic criminal, stole the show for me. The Mosely character was a good take on the homicide detective. As a broke slob who wears dentures, I found character to be believable. There is some really fabulous dialogue and some wonderful minor characters. A small part with a crooked Vice officer was my favorite.

Highly recommended for the fans of the classic crime genre. I look forward to
Sep 18, 2009 Johnny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't why it took me so long to get to the Hoke Moseley books. I've read and enjoyed a lot of Willeford, but somehow these books just remained on my ever-growing stack.

A spare, quick read. There is no fat on this one. Great characters and an original approach. I highly recommend this one (Made into a good, underrated movie, too).

If I had any gripe, it is that some of the story hinges on a pretty big coincidence. But if you're willing to suspend a tad of disbelief, then you're in for a great ri
Dec 14, 2015 Peter rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-thriller
Miami Blues (1984) is Charles Whitteford’s first novel in the Hoke Moseley Series. Hoke is no hero; he’s just a bloke doing his job and good at it, and who knows how to navigate the political side of a career in the police. (The book was made into a movie that received a Rotten Tomatoes score of 2, just above the basement; that flop was due to the movie makers, not to Charles Whitteford.)

We begin with Marty Waggoner, a Hare Krishna (remember them?) begging at the Miami Airport baggage claim. Fre
Book Reaction (not a full review)

I picked up Miami Blues because the author is supposedly one of the core members of the hardboiled/noir canon. I'm not sure what I was expecting; Philip Marlowe in Miami, perhaps.

In actuality, Miami Blues focuses mostly on the perspective of the antagonist, a two-bit sociopath, during his post-prison spree in Miami. While his rampage starts with an accidental (and ridiculously improbable) death, the killer immediately settles down to make some money and find a Bo
Willeford creates a memorable psychopath in Frederick J. Frenger. Although detective Hoke Moseley is the ostensible protagonist, evil Freddy is much more interesting. (Incidentally, he made me think of one of inspector Rebus' adversaries, I think it was the one from Question of Blood; I wouldn't be surprised if Rankin is familiar with Willeford's work.)
It's not so much Freddy's capacity for violence that is interesting as his curious mix of sly premeditation and thoughtless blundering, and the d
This was great, its like a police procedural with strong existential elements. This novel gives a slight indication of what Willeford intended to do with the vastly superior sequels of MIAMI BLUES. Unlike SIDESWIPE, the barbarian in MIAMI BLUES is not described from somebody else's point of view. Here his accomplice - a seemingly stupid prostitute is described from his point of view. So we don't know how reliable his account of her is, especially when you consider the ending.

And then there is t
Luca Lesi
Jul 16, 2013 Luca Lesi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Miami Blues è un romanzo hard-boiled che scorre veloce come un battito di ciglia, non capirete bene come mai ma vi accorgerete di averlo finito mentre ci pensate.
Facile in questo caso associare un brano musicale al libro a cui Tarantino ha dedicato Pulp Fiction ... godetevi la scena !
Tre personaggi attorno ai quali ruota la vicenda ed un protagonista : Miami, città nella quale "girare senza un arma fa una certa impressione", "troppo spietata per fare dei figli", "dove le famiglie possono disfars
Tim Niland
Jun 01, 2010 Tim Niland rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010-reads
A wild and rollicking crime story in the Elmore Leonard/Carl Hiaasen mold, Miami Blues follow the exploits of killer and ex-con Junior and his dim-witted "wife" Susie as they try to out maneuver Miami police Sargent Hoke Mosely as Junior goes on a city wide crime and killing spree. Willeford's characterizations are really the heart of this novel, as we follow Junior and Mosely through their lives and chosen careers, we see what drives them and what will eventually bring them together in a violen ...more
David Rush
For me this was a fun noir-ish book that pulls you along with good characters that have a “type” but are unique enough to be very interesting. So, I think I will read some more of his stuff. I see he had a lot of fans, but I may take a little more convincing.

There is one thing that really bugged me throughout, two VERY crucial but highly improbable plot points were tied together and it colored my ultimate view of the story. One really unlikely event (somebody dying from a broken finger) HAD to o
Tomáš Kaplan Fojtik
Povedená detektivka, která podle anotace navazuje na americkou školu. Neumím to úplně posoudit, ale všiml jsem si několika rozdílů. Tak třeba v tom, že to, co se děje se děje přímo, bez okecávaček okolo. To, na co Nesbo potřebuje pět stran se v Miami Blues odehraje na prostoru pěti slov.

Ústřední postavou je Hoke Mosley, který není typickým Harry Holem na dně (ani nerudným Kurtem Wallanderem), je to typ detektiva, o kterém toho moc nevíte, ale brzo si vás získá. Netrousí jednu krutopřísnou hlášk
May 18, 2015 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The man can write. I can see Charles Willeford being a writer's writer. His descriptions are solid and his dialogue reminiscent of Elmore Leonard and James Elroy. The novel is short and you will devour it quickly - I could see a TV series featuring the detectives if it were written more recently. I shall seek more of his books but they are 80's in origin and only to be had second hand I fear.
Carla Remy
I liked this enough that I might read the sequels. Though I've developed an aversion to series the longer I've lived. I thought it interesting, in the introduction, Elmore Leonard mentions how Willeford said he'd written against genre until he was old. That explains why, of the four of his I've read from the 50s and early 60s, only Wild Wives seemed like noir.
Dec 30, 2014 Franky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: florida-noir
What do broken fingers, Miami, an airhead, a haiku, missing dentures, stolen credit cards, a pawn shop, a Ritz cracker box and a guy nicknamed Junior all have in common? They are all part of Miami Blues, Charles Willeford’s first in the series of Hoke Moseley crime novels.

When thug Junior (aka Freddy Frenger) accidentally kills a man an airport by breaking his finger, the mystery of who did this is afoot, and the authorities are on it. Junior meets up with an airhead prostitute named Susan, and
Jay Hinman
Jul 08, 2013 Jay Hinman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Charles Willeford was an offbeat noir/crime writer whose oeuvre I've been hoping to dive deeper into for years; it's probably been about 20 since I read his "The Burnt Orange Heresy" (1971), which has got to be one of the funniest, most absurd "crime" novels ever written. I also tackled his 50s pure-noir "High Priest of California" and "Wild Wives" hardboilers around that time, and remember them to this day as being quite pleasingly vicious and raw. To the extent that Willeford is known outside ...more
Álvaro Martín Rodríguez
Un psicópata llega a Miami tras salir de la cárcel y se dedica a ganarse el pan robando y matando si es preciso, a todo el que encuentra. Entretanto tiene una relación con una prostituta y es perseguido por un agente de policía de baja. De los tres personajes no acabas de saber quien está más tarado y quien es más chapucero.

La premisa no parece que dé para mucho ni hay que buscarle mayor transcendencia, pero es uno de los libros más divertidos que he leído en los últimos tiempos.
Graham P
Jul 03, 2015 Graham P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Willeford is a master at balancing absurdities, violent outbursts, humor and sympathy. He's a sibling to Harry Crews and Donald E. Westlake. His Florida noir is at times hilarious and bold, and in other moments, desperate and violent. Hoke Moseley is as lost as they come, a man married to his job because there is no other choice -- he has lost almost everything, including his teeth. Going up against a sadistic pickpocket and his prostitute girlfriend, Moseley moves within the Miami streets and s ...more
Ty Wilson
I remember seeing this movie years ago, but I didn't remember a whole lot about it. After reading the book I can see why it probably didn't exactly stick in my memory. It's the tale of a sociopath criminal and his crime spree in Miami. It's also the tale of the homicide detective chasing after him. The criminal, Freddy Frenger, isn't the sharpest tool in the shed, although he seems to think he is. Our detective, Hoke Moseley, is a down on his luck cop struggling to make it through life day by da ...more
Dec 14, 2014 Domo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a punch in the face and when you think you can stand up get hit again. Gritty and rough. Tough criminal types don't play games....they play to win.
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Pulp Fiction: December 2014 - Miami Blues 15 40 Jan 03, 2015 01:50AM  
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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)
  • New Hope for the Dead
  • Sideswipe: A Hoke Moseley Novel
  • The Way We Die Now
  • Grimhaven

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“I can't see any point to hanging around a Burger King all day, no matter how much money you make. .... I'll tell you why. Your life would depend on the random desires of people who wanted a hamburger. So you can just forget about Burger King.” 3 likes
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