Miami Blues

ISBN: 1400032466
ISBN 13: 9781400032464
By: Charles Willeford Elmore Leonard

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Reader's Thoughts

Karl

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.

Χάλι Κάλλυ

Το βιβλίο χωρίζεται σε δύο αφηγηματικά πλαίσια.Αυτό του Φρέντι Φρένγκεν και του ντετέκτιβ Χοκ Μόσλι.Η Σούζαν και ο Φρέντι,δύο από τους βασικούς χαρακτήρες του βιβλίου,εξωτερικά μοιάζουν με συνηθισμένα άτομα.Αυτή διωγμένη από το πατρικό της σπίτι,προσπαθεί να φτιάξει τη ζωή της στη μεγαλούπολη.Αυτός πρώην κατάδικος,προσπαθεί να φτιάξει τη ζωή του σύμφωνα με τα νόμιμα πρότυπα.Η τυχαία γνωριμία τους δημιουργεί μια νοσηρή σχέση αλληλεξάρτησης.Η επιθυμία νορμαλοποίησης της καθημερινότητάς που μοιράζονται από κοινού,με μη νόμιμες δραστηριότητες,καθώς και το ένστικτο της επιβίωσης που κυριαρχεί και στους δυο,θα οδηγήσει σε μια απροσδόκητη σύγκρουση συμφερόντων μεταξύ τους και θα ολοκληρωθεί με ένα επίσης μη αναμενόμενο τέλος.Από την άλλη,ο Χοκ Μόσλι που ερευνά την υπόθεση θανάτου του αδερφού της Σούζαν,έρχεται αντιμέτωπος μέσα από τα γεγονότα που συμβαίνουν,με την καταστρατήγηση της προσωπικού του χώρου και την αμφισβήτηση της ικανότητάς του να παρέχει ασφάλεια στον εαυτό του.Ο καθένας,από τους βασικούς ήρωες του βιβλίου,μοιάζει να προσπαθεί να αλλάξει κάτι που τον ενοχλεί,χρησιμοποιώντας τον λάθος τρόπο.Η ιστορία πλέκεται περίτεχνα,ο Ουίλφορντ χρησιμοποιεί το στοιχείο της έκπληξης και της τραγικής ειρωνείας σα να είναι ο εφευρέτης τους και καταγράφει τα αληθινά συναισθήματα των πρωταγωνιστών με ωμό κυνισμό και χωρίς επιπλέον σχόλια.Άξιος ο τίτλος του "πατριάρχη του Psycho-Pulp".

Cameron

This is not a bad book and I did enjoy reading it, however it is no Hammett, Chandler or Elroy. To be fair it is set in a different time and place to LA hard boiled novels and the protagonists is a cop, but that doesn't change that I didn't get into the characters immediately and that it felt a little patchy and unfocussed. Some of the sequence seemed unnecessary and out of place except for setting up bad puns or very darkly humourous situations.I see from notes that this is first a series of novels with Hoke as the main character rather than splitting time with the antagonist (Junior). I would definitely buy the next Hoke Mosely book to see how the stories progress when they focus on his view point, but at would not rush out to order it.

Patrick McCoy

I was a fan of the George Artimage film (1990) based on Charles Willeford's Hoke Moseley novel Miami Blues (1984) before reading it. This edition has an introduction written by Elmore Leonard. And, indeed, I see similarities between the two authors-they are both masters of the literary crime novel. I really enjoyed inhabiting the seedy 80s Miami in Willeford's novel. I like how Willeford uses Junior's introduction to Miami as a way to introduce the city to those of us who are also not familiar with it: the dimensions of the city with the Everglades, the distinctions of Miami proper with Miami Beach, Colombian murder squads, how Carter's offer of refugee status for Cubans in opposition to Castro destroyed the city when Castro emptied his prisons in Marioelito (referred by Moseley as Marielitos), and other aspects specific to Miami. Hoke Mosley is also a original crime fighting protagonist-like Kurosawa's Murakami in Stray Dog he loses his gun. However, that's not the worst of it, because he also is savagely beaten within an inch of his life and loses his badge in the bargain as well. He also has dentures that are a constant source of worry, but these do not detract from the fact that he is a first rate detective and completely devoted to his job. The perpetrator of this offense is one of the more memorable psychopaths in recent history as well-the musclebound Frederick J. Frenger, Jr.-known as Junior. A man who never even considered going straight once released from prison. Instead he mugs three men and flies to his fate in Miami. He accidentally kills a Hare Krishna upon arrival at the airport after breaking his finger and coincidentally ends up in a relationship with the man's dim-witted sister. The movie follows the book very closely, but there is great pleasure in the details. I will definitely be reading more Willeford in the future.

Ed

Miami noir from the late 70's about a good cop trying to survive a beat-down from an unknown psycho.

Jordan

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 person, not just a criminal to be arrested by the police. We spend time with this antagonist, Freddy the psychopathic ex-con, and learn about his motivations, his likes, dislikes, worries, etc. You’ll see the roots of Leonard when you read this book.The “good guy” cop Hoke a unique denture-wearing guy who is sympathetic yet slightly stand-offish. You don’t learn to love him but you like him as well as feel bad for him. He’s not overly macho and therefore he seems all the more real for that.Some of the language and references are dated and there some racist/homophobic/sexist language that may turn off some readers. However, that language is put there to show the attitudes of people you’d meet everyday. It’s a frank and honest portrayal of real people. The plot relies on a far-fetched coincidence but it’s not too distracting. There’s some pretty brutal scenes in here, too, so fans of violent crime fiction will love it. Even though the roots of Elmore Leonard lie in the fiction of Willeford and Higgins, I think Leonard has improved upon that style, tightening up the writing and making it more laid-back (and more fast-paced, if that makes sense). There is also some humor in Miami Blues, some of it quite funny (the “Crisco” part is pretty hilarious). So, if you like good crime fiction that isn’t a “whodunit”, read this book. If you like Elmore Leonard, read this book. And for Tarantino fans, QT has also name-dropped Willeford as an influence so if that gets you excited, read this book.

Jitka Jitulisko

http://jitulisko.blogspot.cz/2014/07/...

Kemper

Treasure of the Rubbermaids 10: Good Cop - Bad CopThe 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.

Clay

Now that was definitely one of the best crime novels I've read recently. At the same time I'm not quite sure why this is supposed to be a "Penguin Modern Classic". I'll explain later!Anyway... so this is a story about a crazy badass who spent a long time in jail and now that he's out he wants to do something with his life... meaning that he wants to continue his illegal lifestyle and finish a big job that would send him to "semi retirement". This character is probably the book's biggest strength as he is really well described and even though he is more of a typical bad guy there are some shades of grey in his personality. Fpr example whenever he tries to help others he gets into trouble so he thinks that he has no other choice than to think only about himself. On his adventures he meets a young hooker who soon becomes his girlfriend. That girl is called Susan, she is quite dumb but very likeable. She is probably the main reason that there are a lot of scenes in this brutal and violent book that can make you laugh or at least grin like an idiot. I had one major issue with her portrayal, though. Whenever there was a chance she was described as extremely young looking, like 14 or something. At the same time she was involved in a couple of sex scenes. That felt REALLY wrong. It was like the author wanted to present this 20 year old character as a sexy looking 14 year old. What the fuck? That was somehow twisted... The detective on the other hand was a very poor guy, much different than your usual crime heroes who may be shady guys but would never get bullied by other people because they're so fragile. They definitely wouldn't lose their fake teeth in a fight. All in all it was a very fast and easy read, the author has a clear style and voice. So it is an entertaining novel with weird characters but why exactly is it a modern classic? I mean there was nothing revolutionary, thought provoking or deep about this book. That's what I don't understand at all. Maybe somebody can explain that to me. Why 3 stars you may ask. Well it was entertaining but that's all. If you're looking for that go ahead and read it.

Mariano Hortal

Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/otro-moment...Entre los aficionados al género es bien conocida la existencia de una de las mejores colecciones de novela negra que se ha publicado en este país, fue editada por Ediciones Júcar y el director era el gran Paco Ignacio Taibo II, se llamaba Etiqueta Negra y el contenido era simplemente excepcional (Westlake, Thompson, Hammett, Himes, McClure, Goodis, Ledesma, Juan Madrid, Pronzini, Manchette, Block, McBain…), así hasta conformar un largo etcétera que conjugaba clásicos, autores españoles y sudamericanos y lo último de la novela policíaca. Es tan buena que, poco a poco, haciendo arqueología en las librerías de segunda mano y ocasión, voy consiguiendo esos títulos que, en la mayoría de los casos no han sido reeditados en ningún sitio.Si tenemos que hablar de quién ha cogido el legado de esta colección, está claro que debemos referirnos a Serie Negra de RBA que ha cogido el testigo y está construyendo una colección sencillamente magnífica, sobre todo porque gracias a publicar a ciertos autores más comerciales están consiguiendo al mismo tiempo ir recuperando más y más clásicos, inencontrables hoy en día. La fórmula está siendo la misma, una sana mezcla de clásicos (Thompson, Chandler, Himes, McDonald, Millar..), junto a autores de actuales más comerciales (Nesbo, Coben, Rankin, Kerr, Lehane…), escritores de habla hispana (Zanón, Ledesma, Salem, Ibáñez…) e incluso de novela detectivesca (Christie, Conan Doyle..). Además, para reforzar el conocimiento del género, están haciendo un trabajo estupendo en su web de novela negra (www.serienegra.es) y están más que activos en sus perfiles de Facebook y Twitter (@serienegra). La sensación es que les está yendo bien, tienen ya más de ciento sesenta títulos y no parece que se vaya a terminar a corto plazo, lo cuál me llena de satisfacción. ¿Para qué engañarnos? Uno de los listados que espero con más ganas todos los meses es el de RBA.Esta semana, por lo tanto, en el rincón de recomendaciones policíacas, una recopilación con tres de las últimas obras publicadas en esta colección, tres obras imprescindibles en un podio de muchos quilates:Miami Blues de Charles Willeford. Uno de esos títulos inencontrables y que acaban de recuperar es precisamente esta primera novela de Charles Willeford (1919-1988) de su serie con el detective Hoke Moseley. Estamos ante una de esas novelas donde la dicotomía investigador-criminal está presente desde casi el comienzo. El autor monta la novela desde los puntos de vista de los dos alternando capítulos de esta manera; así, por un lado tenemos al sociópata Frederick J. Freyer (“Tenía veintiocho años. Parecía mayor porque su vida había sido dura; las líneas en la comisura de los labios estaban demasiado profundas para alguien que no llegaba a los treinta años”); y por el otro a nuestro Hoke Moseley. La novela tiene la particularidad de estar ambientada en Miami con todo lo que ello conlleva (“Realmente me siento indefenso conduciendo y caminando por Miami sin un arma”). La absorbente trama se va enredando, las voces se suceden hasta mezclarse en los capítulos finales según se acerca la conclusión. Cada uno de ellos luchará por su identidad, uno por conservarla, otro por adoptar un estatus “respetable”, con consecuencias funestas. Es un hardboiled en su mejor tradición, al estilo de colosos como Bunker o Crumley: cruda y dolorosa, violenta. Solo queda que haya un poco de suerte y veamos la serie de Moseley publicada al completo.El asesinato como diversión de Fredric Brown (1906-1972). Algunas novelas simplemente necesitan una premisa potente para ser escritas, luego puedes acabarlo bien o mal pero en la mente de quien lo lea siempre se va a quedar esa idea; si a una premisa interesante le unes inteligencia, entonces tienes una novela tan sobresaliente como ésta. El punto de partida es tan innovador como divertido: una serie de crímenes empieza a producirse y el único punto en común para todos ellos está en los guiones para radionovelas escrito por el protagonista que… sorprendentemente, no se los ha enseñado a nadie. El estupendo escritor de novelas de ciencia ficción y relatos breves nos focaliza la narración en el peculiar Bill Tracy al que caracteriza maravillosamente (“Tracy os hubiera caído bien, a pesar de los extraños rumbos por los que su lógica lo conducía de vez en cuando. Pero os hubiera caído mucho mejor aún cuando estaba entonado”; “sobrio os resultaría un tanto cínico. Pero no se le podría culpar por ello; escribir guiones para radionovelas vuelve cínico al más santo y Tracy no era un santo”) utilizando un narrador omnisciente divertidísimo y que busca la complicidad con el lector. Con todo ello creó una novela divertida, ingeniosa, espléndidamente tejida, sin duda un clasicazo del género que no debe pasar desapercibido para nadie.Y la joya de la corona entre estas maravillas, en lo más alto del podio, para Retrato de Humo de Bill Ballinger (1912-1980). Este escritor y guionista norteamericano creó en esta novela una de esas obras maestras imperecederas. Para ello utilizó uno de esos personajes que pasan a la historia por sus perversidades y grado de enrevesamiento: la protagonista femenina Krassy Almauniski, capaz de hacer cualquier cosa por ganarse un hueco en la sociedad (“Encontraba justo servirse del sexo, lo mismo que otras mujeres se servían de la educación, el talento o las relaciones sociales… o de un trabajo duro”). La historia comienza con la narración en primera persona del protagonista Danny April que, tras encontrar una foto de Krassy, se enamora y la empieza a buscar sin descanso. Todo es nebuloso, ella es un “retrato de humo”, él no sabe casi nada de ella y tiene que empezar a construir su historia hablando con las personas que la han conocido. El escritor alterna esta voz con la de un narrador omnisciente que refleja la historia de Krassy con todas sus vicisitudes. Ahí está la magia, él conoce parte de lo que es Krassy pero no todo, eso solo lo sabemos los lectores y cuenta lo que cree conveniente para que sea así; la narración no es lineal y hay elipsis en todo momento. De esta manera consigue que la historia sea muy fluida y enigmática según pasas las páginas, absorbente, sin esconder lo descarnado de la historia, pero sin regodearse en esa brutalidad palpable en cada página. El resultado, un final apoteósico que no hace más que subrayar un relato magnífico.

Nate

Better than Chandler, better than MacDonald... This is probably one of the better crime novels I've read... Not that I've read a ton, but this one takes the cake. One thing that makes it unique among almost anything I've read is the author's dual psychological understanding and un-sentimentality toward his characters. What I'm trying to say is that he doesn't seem to empathize with everyone, yet he still gives us very human and accurate portraits of the characters. Its beautiful and gritty and also very funny and surreal.

Michael

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 Leigh. While there are some major differences to the two, the majority of the book is exactly the same. I’m a little disappointed when I found out this was the first in the Hoke Moseley series, because I always thought of the detective as a supporting role. In the movie Junior steals Moseley’s badge and starts pretending to be a cop to con people; this was the best part of the movie. Sadly in the book there isn’t much of that going on.Charlies Williford is an author of fiction, poetry, an autobiography, and literary criticism but he is best known for his hard-boiled writing. I think it is weird that he was a poet and literary critic as well as pulp writer, but then again I really shouldn’t be. It’s just an interesting fact about the author. When you think 1980’s hard-boiled novels, Miami Blues is probably going to be one of the top nominations on that list. Charlies Williford was such a prolific writer, with over forty novels published, it is kind of sad that he is best known for the Hoke Moseley series that he wrote very late in his life. I wonder what some of his other books were like, there seems to be a whole lot of hard-boiled novels in the 1950’s and 1960’s that look interesting.This book is an example of the noir sub-genre Florida glare which is basically a crime novel set in Florida where the heat and the culture play a role in the story as well. Noir is typically associated to LA and there have been some writers out there that wanted to depict Florida as the perfect location for crime stories as well. Some examples of this include the Travis McGee (by John D. MacDonald), Jack Ryan (by Elmore Leonard), and Dexter Morgan (by Jeff Lindsay) series and I’m sure many more. It is an interesting concept though do we really need another genre? I like how the heat of Florida plays a part in the book and the environment is almost like a supporting character.This was a quick read and one of the rare cases where I think I prefer the movie over the book. I wonder if there are any more noir novels where a character pretends to be a cop in order to con people; I’m sure there are plenty out there, I like the concept and would like to read more of them. I think I’ll have to try another Charlies Williford, maybe something earlier. Does anyone want to recommend me a good Charlies Williford novel?This review originally appeared on my blog; http://literary-exploration.com/2013/...

Dan

i had fairly high expectations for this one, and it lived up to them. a genuinely offbeat crime thriller that works equally well as a pulp page-turner and as an experiment in low-key surrealism. structurally similar to elmore leonard, though deliberately lacking his warmth or empathy. no one is exactly "likeable" in miami blues, but each character seems human and interesting, especially freddy, the sort-of-antagonist. freddy is ultimately a scumbag, but he's so fascinating that i could have read 500 more pages about him and his love of haikus and cop impersonation. excited to read the rest of the series, which is in serious need of a reissue from its publisher.

John Onoda

Charles Willeford reminds me of Elmore Leonard. Both write about criminals with as much affection and understanding as they write about cops. All characters are presented as human and flawed, often with both good and bad traits. In Miami Blues, the mains character are the sociopathic Freddy Frenger and the dysfunction Hoke Moseley, a cop who is living in a seedy Miami hotel and who really ought to retire.The portrait of Miami in the 1980's is from the perspective of people on the fringes. It isn't pretty but it's believable. So is the blurred line between right and wrong, as cops and law breakers interact in a kind of No Mans Land where normal rules of behavior don't really hold sway.

Unbridled

I'd seen (and enjoyed) the movie of course and as a rule I never read a book after seeing the movie, but I came across Willeford's name in an interview with Jim Knipfel, who wrote the entertaining Slackjaw and spoke admiringly of his work. With a little research I discovered that no less an authority than Elmore Leonard said Willeford is the best crime writer in America. That's good enough for me. I also learned that Miami Blues was the first of a series of detective Hoke Moseley books. So I had no choice but start at the first, and I can say it did not disappoint in the least – I liked it, liked its energy, story, and its pop pop speed, and I finished it in two sittings. Is it going to inspire you or move you or change your life? No. But it's the kind of book every kind of writer should read more often to tell better stories and it's also the kind of book that I'd like to read more often. Something so easy, smart, and breezy is extremely hard to do. Of course, there are tricks in this trade, and if a genre writer is prolific enough you start to see those tricks everywhere as a distraction. Still, I look forward to finishing off the Moseley series and maybe looking around the rest of the Willeford oeuvre.

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