Miami Blues

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

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Crime Crime Fiction Currently Reading Favorites Fiction Florida Mystery Noir Thriller To Read

Reader's Thoughts

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.

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.

Brian Getz

When it comes to Florida mystery/crime fiction, Hoke Mosely is at the opposite end of the "cool" spectrum when it comes to some of his more contemporary literary protagonists like Doc Ford, Thorn,and Alex Rutledge. Root for him, you do, though.

Dsdmona

http://dsdmona1.blogspot.com.es/2014/...

Martyn V. (aka Baron Sang Froid) Halm

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.

Tim Niland

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 violent conclusion.

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.

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".

Luca Lesi

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 disfarsi in baleno", le strade intasate, il caldo umido che si appiccica addosso mentre leggi.Hoke Mosley, detective senza un soldo perché paga gli alimenti alla moglie , che vive in uno squallido albergo dove "devi far squillare il telefono almeno venti volte perchè il tipo della reception è duro d'orecchi e spesso si allontana". Hoke è in gamba, intelligente, border line, non aspetta certo rinforzi o mandati per intervenire, ha una dentiera ballerina che più volte finisce per strada a causa dei pugni presi.Freddie Frenger, detto Junior, psicopatico appena uscito di prigione, ossessionato da dover fare qualcosa nella vita rispetto alla quale si sente un di avere un atteggiamento responsabile e intelligente salvo poi pestare o sparare al primo essere che incontra. Miami è la sua città .... sarebbe stata la sua città ..... non sarà mai più la sua città.Susan, studentessa squillo, giovane apparentemente stupida ma in realtà scaltra e opportunista, per lei il finale del libro e , a riconoscimento della vittoria in questa storia ,per quanto sempre piccole e relative siano le nostre vittorie in questa vita : "Vince la torta all'aceto OCALA - la signora Susan Mansfield, nata Waggoner, ha vinto la disfida delle torte delle tre contee . Di seguito la ricetta . Al momento di ricevere il premio la signora ha dichiarato < Devo ancora incontrare un uomo che non vada pazzo per il mio dolcino>"La scrittura di Willeford è precisa ma fluente, i personaggi sempre ben delineati, descritti con spessore sia internamente che esternamente, le strane coincidenze che si manifestano all'inizio del romanzo inducono abilmente a proseguire dritti fino alla fine.Alcuni elementi si ripetono quasi con ossessione e sono caratteristici dei tre personaggi: la dentiera, il dover far fare venti squilli e la mancanza di soldi (Hoke ; non fare domande se non intelligenti, essere responsabili e avere una lista (lo psicopatico); fare da magiare bene, avere un'auto e avere un uomo a fianco ( Susan). Ritengo che proprio questa continua ripetizione, quasi ad identificare le quotidiane ossessioni di ogni uno di noi, sia la chiave per cui i protagonisti si sentono in qualche modo "vicini" e la simpatia e l'interesse del lettore si ripartiscano equamente tra i tre.Anche quando l'ispettore subisce l'aggressione di Junior e finisce all'ospedale, non si prende posizione, non si chiede giustizia ma si gira pagina per leggere cosa succederà e non è un caso che l'unico personaggio che a gran voce vi farà pensare "questo str... deve finire in galera !" sarà un marginale poliziotto corrotto a nome Wilson, totalmente accessorio e ininfluente alla storia.Fantastico il riferimento alla poesia haiku , antica arte poetica Giapponese basata rigorosamente su 17 sillabefuruike ya kawazu tobikomu mizu no otoil vecchio stagnola rana saltatonfo nell'acquatrovate un interessante e completo approfondimento qui : La poesia haiku e la 'rana' di Bashō Difficile spiegare come questo tratto di notevole spessore culturale possa entrare in questa pazza storia ed essere coerente con i suoi personaggi . Le 4 stelle di giudizio nascono proprio da qui, dalla capacità dell’autore di coinvolgerti al punto tale da farti pensare che tutto sia possibile e ragionevole a Miami come nella vita. Sia che si tratti di un incontro casuale tra un pregiudicato e la sorella dell’uomo che aveva ucciso la mattina in aeroporto storcendogli il dito sia che una squillo portoricana di 14, 16, 19, 20 o 21 anni (?) studi Haiku.Un ultimo accenno alla solitudine, tema caro ai personaggi del filone hard-boiled, anche qui la solitudine concede un piccolo spazio di rivincita a Junior e Susan, anche qui è uno spazio destinato a durare poco restituendo ad ogniuno la propria solitudine oppure la morte , estrema solitudine o una vaga promessa di un'altra possibilità, comunque temporanea, di uscirne per un po’. Come sempre, è l'orgoglio che ci fotte (si pensi al colloquio in Pulp Fiction tra Butch e Marcellus ) e volendo noi credere di essere nel giusto, di essere coerenti, di affermere noi stessi prendendoci in mano la vita senza compromessi, ci ritroviamo tristemente soli e inevitabilemete sconfitti. Leggetelo, ne vale la pena, ma non aspettatevi troppo e sarà gradevolissimo.

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.

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/...

Jay Hinman

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 (or even inside) the crime enthusiast world, it's for a series he wrote in the 1980s just before his 1988 death featuring a derelict detective named Hoke Moseley, the most famous of which is the first one, "MIAMI BLUES", which was made into a film some time after that and which I just finished reading this past weekend.I have no hesitation in the slightest pronouncing it as having delivered. Willeford is no Jim Thompson nor Elmore Leonard; both his gumshoes and his criminals are pretty bent, odd characters, and his writing zags off into strange tangents that are ridiculously funny and somehow still an integral if bizarre part of the larger story. 42-year-old detective Hoke Mosely's premature dentures, for instance, get into all sorts of conundrums in this tale, and the story also has some pretty offbeat digressions into the nature of Japanese haiku and all manner of health foods. I obviously haven't read the other three Hoke Moseley novels, but I enjoyed greatly how his personal and find-the-bad-guy story was told only in alternating chapters, and in an only slightly linear fashion as well. The other alternating chapters are given over to psychopath Freddie "Junior" Frenger and his doofus "platonic wife" Susan Waggoner, whom Freddie meets when she shows up upon his arrival in his Miami hotel room as a prostitute. Freddie has just gotten out of prison in California, see, and his chief aim is to do something big that even he knows will land him in prison again - he's just not sure what. He's a vicious bodybuilding thug whom we only learn about in spurts; most of his action is in real time, as he breaks fingers (sending a Hare Krishna into death by shock), robs people blind, breaks jaws and emotionally & physically abuses Susan. Frenger is on a collision course with Moseley, and even he seems to know it. He decides that his "big splash" is going to be a coin dealer in downtown Miami, and let's just say things don't really go as planned, as crimes planned by psychopathic, prison-lifer muscle-thugs often don't.Willeford seems to be simultaneously laughing and pointing fingers at the crime genre and spinning a ripping crime yarn at the same time. It's what endeared me so much to "The Burnt Orange Heresy", and much of his same sardonic art is alive and well in this one.

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.

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.

Gerald Sinstadt

Penguin can be thanked for adding Miami Blies to their Modern Classics catalogue. The late Charles Willeford had enough exprience of life to qualify him to write about its darker side: he was a US tank commander with many medals in World War II, he was a horse trainer, a boxer and a painter.Three interesting characters interact in Miami Blues. Frederick J Frenger Jr is an amoral, violent crook. Susan Waggoner is the student/hooker whom he lures into a "platonic marriage." Hoke Moseley is the homicide detective with vulnerable dentures who eventually ensures that Freddy and Susan receive their due.The telling is strong on laconic humour but doesn't shy away from portraying gratuitous violence for what it is. There are more Hoke Mosely books that should be worth exploring.

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