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Miami Blues

(Hoke Moseley #1)

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  3,192 ratings  ·  223 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
Paperback, 191 pages
Published August 10th 2004 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1984)
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3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,192 ratings  ·  223 reviews

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Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Don't Watch the movie, read the book, in fact read all the books by Mr. Willeford. Sadly he is not creating any new books. Published in 1984 and this is the second time I have read this book.

High rating for enjoy-ability if you like a bit of a hard boiled edge, and a great place to be introduced to this author.
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
Aug 21, 2014 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
Benoit Lelièvre
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic novel.

It starts off ultra-strong. Perhaps with a stronger personality than any other third person-narrated detective novels and kind of meanders after a while, but it went above and beyond of what I expected. Charles Willeford writes like Elmore Leonard meets Quentin Tarantino meets Dashiell Hammett. He has a keen sense of observation, tremendous humor and originality. If you're going to read one detective novel this summer, read this one.
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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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
Oct 09, 2013 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 rated it really liked it
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
Tim Orfanos
Ένα αστυνομικό μυθιστόρημα διαφορετικό από τα άλλα (1984), το οποίο αποδεικνύει περίτρανα τον τίτλο που δόθηκε στον Ουίλφορντ - γιατί.... είναι ο πατριάρχης του 'Psycho-Pulp'.

Το εξώφυλλο του βιβλίου, κατευθείαν, σε ταξιδεύει στο λαμπερό Μαϊάμι, το οποίο κρύβει περίτεχνα το αληθινό 'θανατηφόρο' πρόσωπο του μέσα σε χλιδάτα ξενοδοχεία, μοντέρνα εμπορικά κέντρα, αχανείς δρόμους και παραλίες. Ένα μεγάλο μέρος της αμερικάνικης κουλτούρας του πρώτου μισού της δεκαετίας του '80 αντικατοπτρίζεται μέσα στ
Fred Forbes
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it
Note sure I appreciate a vicious psychopath carrying the name Freddy, but he does and, as the girl he never got around to killing notes "He does have his good points." Book is an interesting time warp, seeing Miami in the 80s with reference on one page to Woolworths, Burdines, and Eckerd Drugs which no longer grace the Florida retail scene, constant smoking anywhere and everywhere by most of the characters, police officers needing to borrow a phone on scene to report in, etc. The story is intere ...more
Marc Gerstein
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: general-fiction
A fun read. I’m not a big fan of the crime genre and don’t remember what I read or heard that caused me to put this on my to-read list (or rather to-listen since I did this on Audible) list. But I’m glad to have done so. Mosely is definitely an engaging cop protagonist and I may lsiten to other novels in the series. Compared to other works I encountered in the genre, this was just plain fun and completely unselfconscious (I’m not into heavy noir.)

It was also fun to revisit a time before cell pho
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 13, 2009 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
Martyn Halm
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa, poliziesco
Parecchi anni fa lessi "Il quadro eretico" di Willeford e mi piacque abbastanza, un giallo insolito. Nulla sapevo di "Miami blues" romanzo e film, con gran meraviglia degli altri lettori.
Il romanzo è un bell'esempio di hard boiled senza il romanticismo di Chandler e Hammett.
Non è il tipo di storia che si può scrivere oggi, con smartphone e internet, ma regge bene negli anni in cui è ambientata.
Belle descrizioni di Miani, anche se troppe indicazioni stradali annoiano un po'.
I personaggi sono ass
May 21, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a pretty odd--yet good--crime novel. Much of the book follows a cop and a criminal as they go about their daily lives (although their daily lives consist of checking out crime scenes and robbing people blind, so it's not as boring as it sounds).

Eventually, their lives intersect and all hell breaks loose.

It was hard to tell where Willeford was going with this story at first, but once it gets going it really sucks you in. It's also a really gritty story. Everyone is kind of mean, everyt
Infada Spain
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Oct 04, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Moloch by: Goodreads Recommendations
Poiché fra i generi che leggo più di frequente metto anche thriller e noir, ho amato molto alcune opere di Manchette e Carlotto, per fare due nomi famosi, o anche Les Italiens di Pandiani, l’algoritmo che calcola i suggerimenti automatici di Goodreads mi proponeva questo libro. In genere trovo questi suggerimenti abbastanza azzeccati, e quando a ciò si è aggiunto il consiglio “umano” di un altro utente del social network, sembrava davvero arrivato il momento di mettere alla prova questo autore ...more
Gerard Cappa
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Hoke Moseley is old school, hard-boiled and hard-wired to distrust change but his Miami world of the late 80's is changing fast.

'It used to be a lot different when Hoke was still married. Four or five couples would get together for a barbecue and some beer. Then, after they ate, the women would all sit in the living room and talk about how difficult their deliveries had been, and the men would sit in the kitchen and play poker ... That had been real Florida living, but now all the white families
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-borrowed
I first read Miami Blues sometime in the eighties - before the 1990 movie - but rereading it now thirty years later, it's hard to read it without picturing the characters as portrayed in the movie. That there is the power of cinema. It's still an awesome book even rereading it and knowing full well what's going to happen. It is strikingly different in tone and affect from Willeford's earlier pulp works so much so that you wonder how that could be.

What's really remarkable about Miami Blues and i
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Dec 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Carla Remy
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Francesco Caria
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
Scrittura diretta, personaggi diretti, freddi e cattivi, che volere di più? In una Miami avvolta da un caldo ottenebrante si aggirano personaggi oscuri che nascondono trascorsi personali poco invidiabili; nessun colpo di scena, nessun mistero da svelare, solo una trama avvolgente che si addentra i menti malate che indirizzano comportamenti deviati.
Luca Lesi
Jul 06, 2013 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
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
Dec 13, 2014 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
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Paver-Aid of Miami Beach 1 3 Nov 30, 2017 11:14PM  
Pulp Fiction: December 2014 - Miami Blues 15 45 Jan 03, 2015 01:50AM  
  • The Wrong Case
  • The Hot Spot
  • Rendezvous in Black
  • The Instant Enemy
  • Nightfall
  • The Outfit (Parker, #3)
  • Bust (Max & Angela #1)
  • Pop. 1280
  • The Long-Legged Fly (Lew Griffin, #1)
  • A Rage in Harlem (Harlem Cycle, #1)
  • Three to Kill
  • The Name of the Game Is Death (Drake, #1)
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

Other books in the series

Hoke Moseley (5 books)
  • New Hope for the Dead (Hoke Mosely #2)
  • Sideswipe: A Hoke Moseley Novel
  • The Way We Die Now
  • Grimhaven
“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.” 5 likes
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