The Way We Die Now

ISBN: 1400032504
ISBN 13: 9781400032501
By: Charles Willeford Donald E. Westlake

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About this book

When Miami Homicide Detective Hoke Moseley receives an unexplained order to let his beard grow, he doesn't think much about it. He has too much going on at home, especially with a man he helped convict ten years before moving in across the street. Hoke immediately assumes the worst, and considering he has his former partner, who happens to be nursing a newborn, and his two teenage daughters living with him, he doesn't like the situation on bit. It doesn't help matters when he is suddenly assigned to work undercover, miles away, outside of his jurisdiction and without his badge, his gun, or his teeth. Soon, he is impersonating a drifter and tring to infiltrate a farm operation suspected of murdering migrant workers. But when he gets there for his job interview, the last thing he is offered is work.In this final installment of the highly acclaimed Hoke Moseley novels, Charles Willeford's brilliance and expertise show on every page. Equally funny, thrilling, and disturbing, The Way We Die Now is a triumphant finish to one of the most original detective series of all time.

Reader's Thoughts

Gerald Sinstadt

Miami Blues lef me to The Shark-infested Custard and now to this. Admiration for Willeford grows with each book. Superficially, The Way we Due Now is hard-boiled police procedural, but its investigation of character and motivation reveals an author with rather more to offer. The unconventional family in which Hoke, a police sergeant in deepest Miami, finds himself is portrayed with convincing insight. There is a murder to be solved and there is an assignment that deals in almost casual brutality.The author writes with an eye for detail that is almost documentary yet somehow does nothing to mar the pace. Political correctness is precisely skewered in passing, and there is some delicious deadpan humour. Towards the end there is a marvellous riff on the theme of the new chief replacing the old new chief. R ead and enjoy.If this is pulp fiction it is very high class pulp fiction.


I really, really tried to make this book last since it's the last of the Hoke Moseley books and as you know from my previous reviews, I've developed a little crush thing on the guy, but I couldn't put it down. I'm so sad to be done with it. Feels a little weird writing this review so soon. Body's still warm, etc. By this, the 4th book, I was starting to notice a pattern. And I don't mean that in a bad way. It was a pattern I liked: the first chapter obscurely references what will be the main crime of the book, then we get a bunch of Hoke being Hoke (making sandwiches, drinking Old Styles, being the best/worst dad ever), a side case for him to solve, a crazy awesome disgusting blood bath as the main crime plays out, and then a satisfying denouement, where Hoke is seemingly put out at first, but in the end things actually end up working out okay for him. But--slight spoilers--this was the first time that I actually sort of felt sad for Hoke at the end of the book. I might be projecting the sadness I feel about finishing the series, but I dunno, this one ended on a down note. Other notes: Hoke pees his pants again! See! I have to love this guy. Here is a list of words/names that appear in this book: cornhole, Vinnie Testeverde. Hoke milks a goat. Out of the four, Sideswipe might be my favorite. Oh, so there's also a 5th unpublished Hoke Moseley manuscript floating around called Grimhaven. But it's not actually a 5th book in the series. It's actually the second Hoke Moseley book. Willeford was told by his agent to turn his success off Miami Blues into a series, and Willeford wanted nothing of it so he wrote a big fuck-you sequel wherein Hoke does some horrendous, horrendous things. But his published wisely passed on it. Then I guess Willeford played ball and cannibalized the good parts of Grimhaven to create New Hope for the Dead, Sideswipe, and The Way We Die Now. Anyway, apparently you can read the manuscript in some library in Florida, or it's fairly easy to find a PDF of it online. I might do it.

John Wilson

I know Willeford's style in his later years was somewhat...unique. That doesn't make it any less frustrating.


The fourth and final installment in Charles Willeford’s Hoke Mosely series finds Hoke undercover investigating the murder of Haitian immigrants, possibly at the hands of their employer. There are also two other story lines: one involving an ex con who Hoke put away for murdering his brother, recently freed from prison and living across the street from Hoke and his family, and another involving a cold case, the murder of a physician, the suspect being the victim’s partner now married to his widow and living in his house.The story lines involving the ex-con and the cold case mix well together, and you expect the undercover mission—which interrupts their developments—to somehow tie it all together. But that doesn’t really seem to happen. There are some interesting implications to the investigation. Hoke’s journey into rural Reagan-era Florida is darkly funny, but also offers a stark depressing contrast of poverty and lawlessness in the deep south vs. a gentrifying modern diverse metropolis like Miami. Without giving too much away, the Haitian story line ends much like the robberies in Miami Blues and Sideswipe, with spectacularly vivid brutality and gore. With regard to the villains, justice is done, but it’s the fate of their surviving victims—poor illiterate Haitians— that’s left open and uncertain. Speculating about their fate—will they take the fall for Hoke’s misstep?—offers the only possible link to the rest of the novel, and that may or may not be intentional. Of the four Hoke Moseley books, this is probably the weakest. A lot of details that setup the undercover mission, the cold case investigation, and the paroled convict seem a little porous, less thorough and detail-specific than its predecessors. Similar to New Hope For The Dead the story takes place entirely through Hoke’s point of view, centering around a whodunit. The problem is, we know whodunit after about four chapters, leaving little suspense to keep the reader interested in the case. That’s not to say this isn’t a good read. There are some pretty great parts to this book that only Willeford would write, and I was sorry to finish it knowing this is the last of the series. I highly recommend Hoke Moseley’s exploits to anyone who’s a fan of Elmore Leonard or Raymond Chandler. That’s not to say Willeford wasn’t unique. The world is definitely a less interesting place without him writing about it.


Alas, the last book in the Hoke series. It would have been nice to see where Willeford took this had he lived, but in any event TWWDN is a nice cap to the story, with another great Willeford ending that I didn't see coming.


Another noir gem with a heart as black as coal


Willeford was an old school mystery writer. I believe this was the last book he wrote before he died. I think it’s the first of his I’ve read. It is ‘A Hoke Moseley Detective Thriller’. The book is pretty low key. It spends a lot of time going over the fairly humdrum day to day existence of the main character, a homicide cop named Mosely. Hoke Mosely seems very realistic. The whole book has that flavor of realism.When violence pops up in the book, it’s very sudden and brutal. Even there, the book seems realistic.I liked the book and will keep an eye out for more by Willeford


The enjoyment I had reading this book was offset by the sorrow that this was the last of Charles Willeford's Hoke Moseley series. Willeford died shortly after its publication leaving behind a legacy of great noir crime back to the early fifties. After a long and varied career Willeford finally struck real commercial pay dirt with the Hoke series that began with the classic, Miami Blues, in the early 80s. Willeford expertly tells his stories without resorting to cheap sentimentality; the "good" guys are fallible strugglers and the 'bad' guys get their comeuppance. In this one, he is still working cold cases. His partner/housemate, Ellita, has taken a medical retirement from the force to raise her baby son and help Hoke with his 2 teenage daughters. Hoke has to manage an ex crim he put away ten years prior moving in across the street from his house, an incapable new partner in a dead end cold case they are working on and a request from his superior officer to go undercover in upstate Florida to bust a nasty piece of work who is murdering Haitian farm workers. There's plenty of humorous and insightful social commentary, a feature of all Willeford's writing.The saddest thing is that, judging by the ending, Willeford had plenty of material to further explore this unique crime fighter, Hoke Moseley, as he fights to raise his kids and keep his corner of the world as clean as possible. I highly recommend the Moseley series of books


I finished the last of Willeford's Hoke Moseley novels with no small measure of regret. Going from Patterson to Willeford is like going from McDonald's (which might not be fair to McDonald's) to mom's home cooking (no Michelin stars but the stuff that makes the heart glow) - the difference between these two authors, both of whom write fiction that primarily 'entertains,' could not be starker. Willeford's prose is clean and evocative; he is brilliant with characterizations and detailing; he is funny; he is masterly with Florida's pied ethnic enclaves; and he is no slouch at telling a damn good tale.

Cathy DuPont

Charles Willeford is considered 'hard-boiled' which is 'my genre' and I really liked this book more because it's set in Florida. South Florida but Florida nevertheless and I'm drawn to Florida books and writers. Sgt. Hoke Moseley, Miami PD, is THE Man. He's real, in part, because of Willeford's sparse writing. I love this character who had his teeth in the first of the series, lost them, bought some expensive 'chopper' then and lost them and can't afford to buy more on his police salary. A good thing his lost them because in this book he fits right in with the characters around him. And Moseley's funny without trying to be. I love to see humor surrounding so much choas and blending in just fine, thank you. Loads of action with some really dark scenes. But, that's my kindof book, my kind of writing, too. So glad I discovered Charles Willeford. He's my kindof guy, too.


Just aight. A pretty unremarkable novel in my opinion. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. The title most likely the best aspect. The novel was a nice time waster but eminently forgettable, though written well enough that I finished it....


Great title---one of the best interextual noir spins on another title ever, in fact. Every time I think of Trollope (or John W. Aldridge, who copped THE WAY WE LIVE NOW from Trol), I think of Willeford, in the same way I can't think of "Stairway to Heaven" without conjuring the B-H Sufers' "Hairway to Steven." The novel itself is deceptively ramshackle. Subplots come and go, conflicts taper off, the prologue featuring the dastardly villain seems to have no relevance ... until, anyway, the hero is sent off on a secret undercover mission that involves a toothless henchman prodding what DeLillo would call his underworld. (No, the bad guys aren't TSA agents). The threat of homosexual rape that flushes through the bowels of noir gets a little tedious, but Willeford belonged to another generation in which that fear somehow clinched their masculinity precisely at the moment that they clenched. If the book seems a stroll rather than a beat-down, the knock-out uppercut comes in the final line, impeccably uttered by one of the hero's own daughters, which somehow manages to sum up every Hemingway-derived code hero ever created in a way that seems obvious and yet affecting. And what she says isn't "I love you, Daddypaddles."


The Way We Die by Charles Willeford A Hoke Moseley Novel, the last in the series. Hoke is a Miami police detective who lives with two teenage daughters. He solves a cold case murder and he goes undercover to deal with a super mean Florida farmer who mistreats his migrant workers. I liked this book. Hoke is a likable character who is a good but not a great detective who has his own internal pulls.




TWWDN is American noir set in Miami, the final book in the series featuring the shambling but endearing character Hoke Mosely; the series began with "Miami Blues" in 1984 and ended with this novel, Willeford's last in 1988. The hallmark of CW's writing is the ease with which he sets up scenes, the simple detail he provides that portray the sultry setting which belie the surprises that the unflappable Mosely manages to discover.CW is the kind of guy you would like to take a writing class form, have a beer with in a dark nameless bar but that will not be happening. I mean, what's not to like about a guy who wrote a book called "Deliver Me From Dallas"?

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