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Miami Blues (Hoke Moseley #1) by Charles Willeford

 

 

‘No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford’ Elmore Leonard

Ex-con Freddy ‘Junior’ Frenger lands in Miami with three stolen wallets and plans for a new life of crime, and leaves the airport with a snatched suitcase and the corpse of a Hare Krishna behind him. Homicide detective Hoke Moseley is soon on his case, chasing the utterly immoral Junior and his hooker girlfriend through the Cuban ghettoes, luxury hotels and seedy suburban sprawl of Miami in a game of hide and seek that will leave Hoke beaten, robbed – but determined to get his man.

 

A brutal, thrilling ride, Miami Blues is a classic of Florida crime fiction, revealing the sordid side of the Sunshine State.

 

‘Pure pleasure… Mr. Willeford never puts a foot wrong’ The New Yorker

 

This is the first in the Hoke Mosely series; other titles in Penguin Modern Classics include New Hope for the Dead, Sideswipe and The Way We Die Now, while fans of the books include Quentin Tarantino, Elmore Leonard and James Lee Burke.

 

 

My 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 Thompson’s 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 taking place in the sunshine state of Miami.
Freddy teams up with a naive young woman and makes her believe he wants to be married and have a family.
While he tries to play family man he’s running around town robbing and killing and she’s quite oblivious to this dark side. Time will tell though and she will soon taste the end of his whip and as some dark harrowing truths come to light she have to do some mighty quick intelligent thinking.
You are put through the eyes of Freddy more than the first appearance of homicide detective Hoke Moseley.
Hoke can be brutal when needed but looks to be an interesting detective to read more of in the other novels where Charles Willeford features him as a main protagonist.
The dialogue and writing is sharp, the story cuts to the chase there is some deadpan dark humor in the mix and all these blends of style provides entertaining reading through one dark side of Miami with ex-con Freddy ‘Junior.’

“Perhaps Freddy has been too pessimistic about his life. He had figured, for as long as he could remember, that someday he would end up in prison for life, wandering around the yard as an old lag, muttering into a white beard and sniping cigarette butts.
But that didn’t have to be – not if he could plan and execute one big job. Just one big haul…
But nothing came to him. He had no concrete ideas except for germ, and the germ was that he had Sergeant Hoke Moseley’s badge and ID. The badge was an automatic pass to free food and public transportation; it could also be used to bluff someone out of considerable sum of cash. But who?”

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 17 August 2012

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