Kemper's Reviews > Miami Blues

Miami Blues by Charles Willeford
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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. No sooner does he arrive at the airport than a Hare Krishna annoys him so Junior breaks his finger before leaving to embark on a one-man crime wave. Freakishly, the Krishna dies from the shock of the broken digit, and homicide detective Hoke Mosley gets the case.

Junior goes on to meet part-time call girl Susan, and then unlikely coincidence brings Hoke into contact with both of them. Hoke doesn’t realize that Junior is the guy who inadvertently killed the Krishna, but he picks up on Junior being an ex-con and starts nosing around him and Susan. This annoys Junior who goes on the offensive and ends up in a position to impersonate a police officer while complicating Hoke’s life.

This is a slick and original crime thriller with off-beat characters. Junior is described as a ‘blithe psychopath‘, and he lives up to that billing. Since he’s sure that he’ll end up in jail eventually no matter what he does, Junior is only interested in instant gratification and fast cash with no real concern about long term consequences. Susan is so grateful to have someone to take care of her that she quickly begins complying with Junior’s instructions.

Hoke isn’t your typical hero cop, either. Just over 40 with a failed marriage and a mouthful of false teeth as well as a taste for bourbon, Hoke‘s personal life is a mess. With every spare dime going towards alimony and child support, he has to live in a shabby hotel and can’t even keep up with his bar tab. Hoke’s also losing most of his friends on the police force as an increasingly dangerous Miami of the late ‘80s is causing most of them to flee to safer jobs.

Anyone looking for an fast paced crime novel with a dark sense of humor would enjoy this book. The movie version from 1990 with Alec Baldwin and Fred Ward is a good adaptation of this also.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by James (new)

James Thane I remember liking this book a lot too, and I agree that the movie was a very faithful adaptation.


message 2: by mark (new)

mark monday i love that movie. baldwin's best film role besides Glengarry Glen Ross.


Kemper mark wrote: "i love that movie. baldwin's best film role besides Glengarry Glen Ross."

I do enjoy him on 30 Rock too. "Why are you wearing that tuxedo?" "It's after 6. What am I? A farmer?"


Martyn V. (aka Baron Sang-Froid) Halm Fred Ward made an awesome Hoke Moseley.


Kemper Martyn V. wrote: "Fred Ward made an awesome Hoke Moseley."

Yes, he did. Also, FX is developing a TV show based on the series with Paul Giamatti playing Hoke.


message 6: by James (new)

James Thane Kemper wrote: "Martyn V. wrote: "Fred Ward made an awesome Hoke Moseley."

Yes, he did. Also, FX is developing a TV show based on the series with Paul Giamatti playing Hoke."


That sounds intriguing. If only they would do as good a job with that as they have with "Justified."


message 7: by Kemper (last edited Feb 20, 2014 09:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kemper James wrote: "That sounds intriguing. If only they would do as good a job with that as they have with "Justified."

Scott Frank is writing/producing and he's done screenplays for Elmore Leonard's Out of Sight and Get Shorty as well as some other adaptations like this upcoming Matt Scudder movie so he's done stuff with crime novels before. I'm optimistic.


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