Read The Way We Die Now by Charles Willeford Donald E. Westlake Online


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 twoWhen 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....

Title : The Way We Die Now
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400032501
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Way We Die Now Reviews

  • James Thane
    2018-07-25 05:48

    This is the fourth and, sadly, the last entry in Charles Willeford’s series featuring Miami homicide detective Hoke Moseley. Hoke, to put it mildly, does not remotely resemble the homicide detectives that one usually encounters in crime fiction. Certainly, he’s nothing like Sonny Crockett and the other detectives of the television show, Miami Vice, which was so wildly popular at the same time this series was written.Hoke is middle-aged and overweight; he dresses in leisure suits that be buys on the cheap. He has no teeth and is plagued by an ill-fitting set of dentures that constantly cause him problems. He lives in a small home that he shares with his two teenage daughters, the woman who was once his partner, and the ex-partner’s infant son. Hoke and his ex-partner are not romantically involved; they are both challenged financially and are sharing the house as a way of saving money. It’s a difficult arrangement which severely limits Hoke’s sex life, assuming that he had one. Obviously, it’s nothing like living alone on a great bachelor-pad houseboat with an alligator named Elvis.Hoke is now working cold cases and is pursuing the case of a doctor who was murdered several years ago. He’s enjoying the challenge and is reasonably content until a man named Donald Hutton leases the house directly across the street. Years earlier, Hoke had arrested Hutton for first-degree murder. On the basis of the Hoke’s testimony, Hutton was sentenced to life in prison and publicly swore revenge against Hoke. But then ten years down the road, the conviction was overturned on a technicality; Hutton was freed and the D.A. decided not to retry the case. So now Hutton is living across the street from Hoke, sitting out in the yard all day, watching the comings and goings of Hoke’s daughters and his ex-partner, Ellita.Hoke is obviously concerned about Hutton’s intentions, but there isn’t much he can do about the situation. Then, in the middle of all this, his boss assigns him to a very dangerous, one-man undercover operation in a neighboring county. Haitian immigrants are disappearing and the local sheriff fears that a particularly nasty farmer is employing the Haitians as migrant labor and then killing them rather than paying them off at the end of the season. As a favor to the sheriff, Hoke’s boss agrees to loan Hoke out to investigate.All of these diverse strands come together to create another very entertaining story. Willeford invented some truly unique characters; the story is well-plotted, and there’s a fair amount of humor. The question that hangs over it all is whether Hoke will weather all the threats he suddenly faces to produce a solution to any of the crimes on his plate.Charles Willeford toiled in the crime fiction genre for a number of years without getting the attention and respect that he genuinely deserved. That changed, finally, when he began the Hoke Moseley series. The books were critically acclaimed and sold much better than his earlier efforts. Sadly, though, Willeford died in 1988, the same year that this book appeared and didn’t get the chance to enjoy this success for very long. His passing was a loss for fans of crime fiction as well; it would have been great fun to follow Hoke Moseley through at least a few more books. But we are fortunate to have these four, and readers who haven’t yet discovered Willeford and Hoke Moseley might want to look for Miami Blues, the book that introduced this great character.

  • Greg
    2018-07-24 06:56

    I was hoping that Charles Willeford might be my post-Parker (I mean Richard Stark's Parker novels, not either of the two mystery authors with the past name Parker, neither of whom I've ever read) author but my first experience with the "Master of Mystery" wasn't very promising. A lot of people seem to like Willeford an awful lot, and Donald Westlake, the name who when he's feeling dark puts on the hat of Richard Stark, praises Willeford as just about a bona fide genius in the genre. This makes me think that something is wrong with my judgment of the book. I just didn't think it was very good. Maybe it was a step ahead of the regular jaded / embittered detective out slogging through his job that appears to be a staple in the crime/mystery/hard boiled genre but it is barely a step ahead, not a leap or a bound or writing in a different ball-park altogether or whatever cliche would fit here. Why do I dislike the book?One, he irked me early on with gratuitous parentheses. There were only maybe three or four of them but they were totally unnecessary. This is the first one that annoyed me;Because of affirmative action, there were three Latins and two blacks ahead of him for promotion (all with much lower scores that Hoke's), but if the department ever did get around to promoting a white American to lieutenant again, Hoke would get the promotion.A couple of sentences above this one the reader is informed that "he had passed the exam with a higher score than any other candidate in the department". Obviously then every other candidate had a lower score and the information given in the parentheses is unnecessary and, well, sort of comes across as right wing whining. But politics aside it's unnecessary. Pointless. Cut it! (So says the person who writes whole paragraphs of unnecessary garbage into parentheses, but I like to think that when I do it I'm being annoying but also interjecting in a voice that doesn't flow right with the main rambling thread I'm on, like here where it's like I'm speaking to you as an aside, or so I think of it, but really it's more likely than not just an annoying affectation I picked up years ago when I was doing my zine and I was fascinated with the manner that Reverend Nørb wrote his columns in MRR and later added to the affectation by being less than subtle in my infatuation with the writing of DFW, and end parentheses). I could cite a few more examples but they are all about the same, usually with no embittered middle class white malice though. Two, the structure of the novel is awkward. Sub-plots get developed that then seem to just float away. Lead up in plots take forever and are then wrapped up with a swiftness that makes all the lead-up seem like overkill. I guess I could say that this is like real-life but as I have whined about in other reviews (like in my review for this book) but writing novels or any book or actually creating anything, is about choices. Is there a reason for a subplot to be there? Is there a reason to spend thirty or forty pages (which is roughly a seventh of the book) developing something that will just disappear with no mention at some point? I didn't get the feeling that there was a reason for the subplots disappearing, it felt lazy to me, not like it was making a statement about what life is like or pointing out the absurdity of everyday life or I don't know what. I shouldn't have to try to jerry-rig a rationalization for why more than a quarter of the book is plot that is left dangling if the author is going to point some path for me to move on. I can get behind DFW leaving major plots unresolved in a novel because it feels intentional, here it feels like the author had an idea he thought he'd run with and then forgot about it and didn't want to do a hatchet job on his novel and be left with something barely the length of a Harlequin Romance. On a similar point, there feels like an awful lot of filer in the book. Most of the filer comes in way too much detail about food. It's not important to know every detail of a meal, is there a reason the reader should care that he took one helping of a certain food and one of his daughters also did but the other one didn't? There is way too much space in this short novel given to meals. Three, too many plot points make no sense / the main character is an asshole. I don't need to like a main character in a book, but I don't like being presented with a total asshole but feel like I'm supposed to get behind him and think of him as one of the good guys. Hoke comes across as a close minded jerk most of the time, but then at other times lip service is paid to him as being a different type of person than the one that is presented. (view spoiler)[In the action climax to one of the main plots he kills two men who are suspected of murdering Haitian migrant workers. He has been sent undercover to see if he can find out anything about the two men but quickly they see through his thin disguise as a transient tramp and the boss tells the other guy to find out what the guys story is. The guy proceeds to punch Hoke in the ribs, throw him in some alfalfa, ask him his name and then tries to rape him (huh? really? Hey this guy might be a cop, lets not try to find out what his story is but lets rape him). Not wanting to be butt-fucked by a Mexican Hoke wraps some barbed wire around his hand and punches the guy in his one good eye, blinding him temporarily and then knocking him out with a two by four. While the guy is unconscious Hoke bashes in the guys head and kills him. We are told later he was doing the guy a favor since he only had one good eye he wouldn't be good for anything with the other one ruined by a barbed wire punch. Hoke then stalks after the other guy while not wearing any pants (what? the explanation that he is using the pants as a pad for his bruised ribs is weak, man up to the punch and put on some pants, no one fights well with their junk dangling around). He overtakes the other guy knocks him unconscious, does a piss poor job of tying him up or for checking to see if there are any guns near him and decides to find some pants, a shotgun and sit back and drink some Jack Daniels. The guy wakes up, finds a pistol at almost point blank range misses two shots at Hoke and then gets killed with a shotgun blast to the chest. Hoke, being a police officer, even if undercover, then decides to burn down the entire farm (why? No idea, but later on we find out that this is the kind of thinking the Miami Police Department is looking for in an Internal Affairs Lieutenant. This is what a 'good cop' would do? Bash in the brains of an unconscious suspect instead of, I don't know, taking him in to custody, interrogating him, not killing him in cold blood?(hide spoiler)]Similarly, there was a scene where Hoke finds out that his daughters and friend are missing and he is a little disturbed by the news and vows in the morning to do some investigating but before he goes to bed that night he leaves his scuffed up shoes in front of his his youngest daughter's room so she can shine them for him if she happens to come home during the night. Dad of the year material! As I said I don't care if the characters in a book are assholes or psychopaths or whatever they turn out to be but don't present an asshole as a good guy, a regular guy who we can all get behind, which is what Hoke is feeling that Willeford gives to the character. I felt like I was supposed to feel sympathy for the plight of this Average Joe White Middle Class guy but in most everything he said and did he was just a close minded, complacent, vaguely racist, arrogant fuck who felt the whole world was against him when in reality he has little going on in his life that makes him any kind of victim. I would have liked to seen a few Mexican's, three or four Haitians, and his Jewish neighbor take turns beating the shit out of him with some brass knuckles and telling him now you're a victim you, stupid lazy fuck. Nothing I've mentioned above was by itself enough to sink a book for me, but it was all these little pet peeves of mine that made me feel very ehhh about the whole thing. I went in wanting to like it but instead of finding some kind of hard-boiled diamond I felt like I was reading a sloppy kind of pointless novel with some good moments of development that never paid off. Originally I rated this three stars, but I felt like there was something wrong with me for not liking the novel after some thought though I still think that I might just be missing something here but my overall enjoyment was on the negative side for this one.

  • Kirk
    2018-07-26 09:14

    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."

  • Tfitoby
    2018-07-23 05:47

    It's a crying shame that Charles Willeford went and died just as this series of Hoke Moseley novels was getting going. The Way We Die Now is the fourth and final chapter in Moseley's life on the Miami Police force in the 80s, and as usual you're treated to some fine existential musings, some witty commentary on the changing face of America and Moseley solving crimes in a largely straight forward manner.The book opens with a chapter describing two men killing animals and people, setting the scene for an anticipated investigation you might expect, only Willeford ignores it for the next hundred pages whilst you get reacquainted with his protagonist and get caught up wondering about his new ineffectual partner in homicide, his former partner now retired to be a single mother, positive discrimination within the police force, the influx of Pakistani immigrants to Hoke's neighbourhood and the underhanded manner in which the WASPs try to keep them out, how his two teenaged daughters cope with only Hoke as parent/role model and on and on until when the two killers finally reappear you've completely forgotten that you're reading a crime novel. It's really something and a very special entry in to the ranks of highly lauded crime novels.There's some unexpected and very matter of fact violence popping up in this one, the behaviour of Hoke causing the reader to completely reassess their opinion of him as an intelligent happy go lucky kind of guy with a strong line on doing what's right, to something a little darker perhaps. Oh, how I would have loved to have seen how Willeford developed that further.

  • Andrew Nette
    2018-07-27 07:11

    Writers and readers are always bitching about the size of our to-be-read (TBR) piles.I’m not sure if it’s related to the fact that there’s more books available, if they’re easier to access electronically or via on-line bookstores like Booktopia, or whether social media means we just need something to talk about, to look busy, so hell, why not talk about how we’ve just added another book to our TBR list.Whatever, the upshot is it’s rare for many of us, well, for me anyway, to find ourselves in a situation where we don’t actually have anything on hand to read and we need to find something quickly. A situation that necessitates departing from our planned reading list and taking a chance on whatever book we can find.This happened to me last week.I was in Queensland’s Surfers Paradise for several days on personal business. I’d finished the book I was reading, Dennis Lehane’s excellent Live By Night, a lot quicker than I thought I would. I didn’t have my Kindle or any other reading material with me and there was nothing in the house I was staying in.So I had to go out and find a book. Quickly.Now Surfers is not exactly book lover’s paradise but it does have one or two okay second hand bookshops. In one of those I found a copy of Charles’ Willeford’s The Way We Die Now.I love Willeford and I’ve read all the Hoke Moseley detective novels. So in that respect, I wasn’t stepping too far out of my comfort zone. But it’s been a long time since I’ve read them and I’d forgotten just how good they are.Moseley is working cold cases for the Miami police when his commander gives him a special assignment, go to the south of Florida and find out who is murdering migrant Hispanic farm workers.He’s living with his two daughters from his previous marriage and Ellita, his former Cuban female partner on the police force and her young baby. Moseley’s got to juggle cold case leads, with his special assignment and bringing up his two daughters. To top it off, a man he convicted for murder has got out of jail and moved in across the street from his house.Willeford handling of all of this is masterful. He moves seamlessly between down and dirty action and Moseley’s ruminations on the changing nature of Miami. His writing has a classic fifties pulp feel fused with an off beat hard boiled style.Moseley is a terrific character, a shabby, cheap skate, misanthropic, old school, right wing cop working in the increasingly multi-ethnic city of Miami in the eighties. He’s the perfect anecdote to so many of the politically correct police appearing in crime fiction these days. Indeed, after reading The Way We Die Now, I think the Moseley books should be used in writing courses on the subject of how not to do a boring police procedural.On top of all this, it felt fitting reading the book in Surfers Paradise. The city took off in the late seventies as a prime destination for beach tourism and was modelled on aspects of Florida. Every second hotel and motel still seems to feature the words ‘tropic’, ‘villa’ ‘palms’ or ‘casa’ in its title.New Hope For the Dead was the fourth Moseley book. Willeford died the same year it was published, 1988. A great pity because, if this book was anything to go by, Willeford had plans for Moseley and the series felt like it had a lot more gas left in the tank.As a result of reading this, I’m going to be dusting off and re-reading my other Willeford books. I’ve also been inspired to find a good bio of the writer. Any suggestions would be very welcome.And I’m going to be ignoring my TBR pile much more often.

  • Craig Pittman
    2018-07-28 09:51

    Wow. I have a new definition of "tragedy," now: The fact that Charles Willeford died just as this book was published in 1988, so he was never able to pen another one/Willeford, whom some credit with being the father of the modern Florida crime novel, led a wild life. He won a Purple Heart as a tank commander at the Battle of the Bulge, served in the military off and on for 20 years, studied art, taught creative writing, reviewed mysteries for the Miami Herald, and at various times worked as a flea-circus barker, a professional boxer, and an actor. He also wrote a series of bleak novels that included "Pick-Up" in 1955 and "Cockfighter" in 1962.And then, in 1984, his first book about a detective sergeant named Hoke Mosely was published, and things would never be quite the same. Mosely is a wonderful character -- a grizzled veteran of the Miami-Dade homicide squad prone to wearing leisure suits, making comments about every minority group imaginable and looking for angles to exploit to avoid paying any money for anything.Mosely is nothing if not practical -- to a fault. When his wife leaves him for a multimillionaire baseball player and dumps his two teenage daughters on him, he figures if he gives them a place to live and food to eat, he's done with his obligations. He spends little time giving them any sort of direction or instruction.The first book, "Miami Blues," was almost an anti-detective story, and so were the subsequent sequels, "New Hope for the Dead" and "Sideswipe." In fact, in "Sideswipe," Hoke is almost an incidental character until the very end, where he helps save his Cuban-American partner, Elita, although she's wounded.Hoke solves his cases through hunches and sometimes just luck. Not everybody liked this approach. At one point, Willeford opened his mail to find a copy of "Sideswipe" with five bullet holes in it, accompanied by an anonymous note saying the reader had been robbed. "A case could be made that Willeford isn`t a crime novelist at all, but rather an exceptionally gifted author who happens to write about life`s marginal characters," Chauncey Mabe wrote in the Sun-Sentinel in 1988.Yet the books were so popular that for "The Way We Die Now," Willeford -- constantly plagued by hard luck when it came to publishers -- managed to get a $225,000 advance. It was worth every penny. In this book, Hoke actually manages to solve several murders, and works a bizarre undercover assignment that requires him to ditch his false teeth, badge and gun and pretend to be a farmworker in Immokalee. As always. Willeford's writing is vivid, his dialogue realistic and his sense of humor dark and twisted. His plotting is the real gift here, with a reader never knowing exactly which way the story is going to go next. There's a violent occurrence about halfway through that is just stunning. It proves just how practical -- and completely amoral -- Hoke can be when he's backed up against a wall.The ending, though, takes everything into a new direction -- Hoke's career and his living situation both, and left me wishing Hoke could have had more adventures, and maybe an opportunity to talk to Elita at least one more time.For more on Charles Willeford, here's a nicely done bio by someone who knew him: here's the Chauncey Mabe interview with Willeford:

  • Tracie
    2018-08-03 03:07

    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.

  • Cathy DuPont
    2018-07-29 09:57

    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.

  • Nate
    2018-07-28 11:11

    Wow. Might become my favorite book in this series (aside from the brilliant first one), a hugely under-looked series of crime novels set in Florida. I always tell friends that reading Willeford is something like if Werner Herzog wrote noir fiction. Both amoral and almost humanistic, or at least psychologically astute. His books are also strange, surreal, often funny, always fascinating. Anyway, this is the fourth and last in his series of Hoke Moseley novels. They are all great and should be read in order. Plus, since no one knows of him, you can often find used first edition books of his for under five bucks. What are you waiting for?

  • Carla Remy
    2018-08-07 09:46

    I thought this book was better than its three predecessors. It gives me a warm feeling, knowing that Willeford brought this series to a satisfying conclusion before he died. The Immokalee section was terrific, though also awfully violent.

  • Cbj
    2018-08-04 04:00

    It felt like Willeford wrote parts of this book in his sleep. I am not criticizing him. But its just that the two major crime investigations in THE WAY WE DIE NOW seemed to be arbitrarily written. Almost as if Willeford was saying - Hey look, I wanted to write this existential novel about a detective in Florida but then nobody would read it, so I am including a couple of ridiculous and over the top crime investigations so that my book would actually get published. There is actually a short introduction to the characters at the beginning and an explanation of what happened to them in the previous novel, probably for the benefit of a reader who would randomly pick up this novel. It felt a bit out of place - it took away a bit from the weirdness and randomness of the novels plot development, I wonder if Willeford was under pressure from the publisher to write this intro. The crime investigations are used to emphasize Hoke Moseley’s approach to solving crimes – mostly by using common sense. One of the crime investigations is uncharacteristically violent. The appearance in Hoke’s neighborhood of a criminal whom he had put away years ago might suggest that maybe Hoke is not as thorough and efficient in solving crimes as it may seem. MIAMI BLUES, the first book in the Hoke Moseley series was the tightest of the four novels with the bad guy planning a heist and Hoke Moseley the detective hunting him down even as he struggles with his everyday problems. But the sequels are more interesting because they are not really about the crime investigations, they are about life in Florida (and America) and the gradual meltdown of a really smart detective as life slowly gets to him. In between the investigations, Willeford tells you about the positive discrimination in the Miami police force, white flight, housing problems faced by white people and race relations within the police department (police officers of different races do not socialize after work) and outside it (an early breakfast table conversation between Hoke, his Cuban detective partner Elita and Hoke's two kids who all live together suggests that there is a bit of a culture clash between them). Willeford’s genius lies in the characterization of Moseley. Moseley might be a police detective but he is not someone who can live anywhere he wants to. He cannot live in Black and Cuban neighbourhoods because he has to worry about the safety of his daughters. He is not some hard drinking beef cake who can beat up ten men and get laid whenever he wants to. Moseley is a smart man who likes the simple pleasures – watching Saturday Night Live, drinking Michelob/Old Style beer and eating good food. But he has to deal with spirit crushing everyday problems and he goes about it with the minimum amount of bitterness. He has his beautiful Cuban detective partner living with him but he seems to let go of the chance to start a relationship with her because of their jobs in the same police department and because he does not like the way she eats sandwiches and wears perfume. And then there are his two kids with whom he has some hilarious exchanges. Willeford’s writing is almost like Mosley’s life. Like Moseley, he barely manages to rein things in. After the two crime investigations, he just about manages to balance things off with the social commentary, the weird humour and the horror of Moseley’s life which makes THE WAY WE DIE NOW a truly unique crime fiction novel. I really wish these novels were more widely read. You’ve really got to appreciate Willeford’s knowledge about a variety of topics. This is why I compared him to Philp.K.Dick in another comment. Like Dick, Willeford uses these snippets of knowledge to make interesting dialog or substantiate and fortify crime investigations (which might otherwise come across as absurd). Norman Mailer wrote that only people with criminal instincts join the police force (I don’t remember the exact quote, but it was something to that effect). I don’t know how true this is. But Willeford portrays Moseley as an average man with the anxieties of the average man, almost as if he is saying that the police detective is as much a victim of the system as the average man. And that is why for me, Hoke Moseley is a much more memorable and identifiable American character who represents the horror and wickedness of the American dream than say more famous ones like Harry Rabbit Angstrom, Tommy Wilhelm or Stephen Rojack.

  • Peter
    2018-07-27 09:51

    The Way We Die Now (1988) is the fourth and last of Charles Willeford’s Hoke Moseley crime novels; it was published just before Willeford’s death. Hoke is homicide detective sergeant in Miami homicide with a strange home life: he lives with his two teenage daughters, his former partner Ellita, and Ellita’s infant son by another man. Hoke’s relationship with Ellita is platonic and motivated by cost sharing.Hoke has been assigned to the murder of Dr. Paul Russell in his own driveway. Prior to the murder, Dr. Russell’s garage door opener was stolen from his car, forcing him to park outside the garage and setting him up for the shooting. After the murder, Russell’s wife, Louise, married Dr. Leo Schwartz, one of Russell’s partners. Coincidence? Hoke’s nose is twitching as he and Gonzales, his incompetent partner, pursue the odor. On the home front, who should rent the house across the street from Hoke but Donald Hutton, who just got out of prison after serving ten years for murdering his brother using the old rat poison trick; Hoke had been the arresting detective on that case. Coincidence? To add to Hoke’s discomfort, Ellita invites Hutton to dinner and starts to date him. What a recipe we’re getting?While juggling the Russell murder and home issues, Hoke is asked to go on a covert assignment to investigate the possibility that a large farmland owner in Immokalee is taking a page from Killing Mr. Watson (1990), Peter Matthieson’s wonderful 1990 novel about a farmer in the Ten Thousand Islands area of southwest Florida circa 1900. Watson had a reputation for hiring seasonal workers at his sugar cane farm and murdering them at the end of the season; in local parlance, this is known as a “Watson Payday.” Hoke’s case has him go to a farm owned by Tiny Boch, where Haitian workers are kept in captivity. All hell breaks loose but Hoke survives to return to his life in Miami-- only to find that his mission had been a setup by his superiors.This is not an emotion-evoking book—-Hoke is a seasoned cop—-though Hoke's daughters and Ellita provide some emotional substance. It is also not a rip-roaring thriller—-there are moments of good action but much of the story is devoted to seeing the cop’s life through the eyes of the cop; not just the street aspects of the job but also the bureaucratic bulls**t and the cover-your-ass aspects of police politics. It is a different kind of "thriller." For me, this was a good book, worth reading but not close to awesome. 3½ stars.

  • Piker7977
    2018-08-11 07:01

    Sergeant Hoke Moseley has some problems. Miami's Homicide Department is short handed on detectives and Hoke's partner in solving cold cases is lackluster economics graduate. Par for the course, Hoke's home life is all over the place as his daughters are living very unique lifestyles and his former partner Ellita and her son Pepe are living in his crowded household. To add to this chaos, an early released murder suspect that Hoke put away 10 years ago has moved in right across the street from his house. This ghost from the past casts a shadow over their lives and appears to have intentions on inviting himself into Hoke's life whether the family wants it or not. To top everything, Major Brownley has assigned Sergeant Moseley to an undercover job outside of Miami jurisdiction hunting down whomever is burying servile Haitian farm laborers. This funky, quirky, eccentric, violent, obscure, entertaining, and fast paced tale will take readers on a satisfying journey that operates outside of the conventional and expected detective narrative. Bravo.Willeford's series is a lot more than crime fiction. The Hoke books (especially the three follow ups to Miami Blues) are also commentary on capitalism, immigration, affirmative action, family life, societal boners, and law and order. The Way We Die Now also has a perfect amount of humor sprinkled in the story to lighten some of the grotesque scenes. The violence is quite suspenseful and showcases Hoke acting outside of traditional police procedural practices and encountering some truly bizarre individuals. Fans of the series who have not read this entry yet are in for some legitimate surprises. With Willeford, you really must expect the unexpected and the fourth and final Hoke mystery offers an unconventional take on the detective formula. Finishing the series is fun and a little sad because there are no more new Hoke books. These were enticing enough to inspire finishing the rest of Willeford's work. If you are new to Willeford and Hoke Moseley please start with Miami Blues! Cockfighter is also worth checking out if you are looking for something outside of the crime genre. I feel obligated to rank the Moseley books so here is my two bits:1. Miami Blues2. The Way We Die Now3. Sideswipe4. New Hope for the DeadEnjoy these books!

  • Eric_W
    2018-08-17 10:56

    Charles Willeford is one of the undiscovered masters of the American mystery. He wrote marvelous books that are far superior to those of much more popular authors. This is no exception and features Hoke Moseley, his Miami homicide detective sergeant. Williford’s world is darkly ironic and the humdrum, normal aspects of life, become part of the tension. Hoke is forced to make a series of accomodations and compromises, some very dark in this book. Hoke has been working on a series of unsolved murders when his boss, Major Brownley and Mel, an immigration cop, ask him to go undercover to root out the murderer of some illegal Haitian immigrants. The woman he is living with — not really living with in the common sense, they are chastely sharing a house to save money with Hoke’s two teenage daughters -- ex-partner Ellita and her baby, has begun showing interest in a new neighbor, Donald Hutton, a man Hoke has reason to worry about because Hoke believes him to be a murderer who was released from jail too early. Hutton had sworn to get Hoke. He’s also working on a cold case, the murder of a physician, and he has just uncovered a clue that he believes will help solve the case, so he’s not enthusiastic about the new undercover work. It turns out to be a bloody assignment — there is a truly shocking scene where the foreman of the farm tries to kill and sodomize Hoke — one that we learn at the end of the novel was something of a setup to see how he would be able to react in difficult and lonely situations. Willeford easily ranks with Hammett and McDonald.

  • Sara
    2018-08-03 04:48

    I'm giving this 4 stars because I liked it more and more as I got into it. It takes a while to adjust to this particular brand of noir...but you do get hooked on Hoke. I never met Charlie Willeford but I knew his third wife when I lived in Miami and she was a very spicy person with a quick wit. I wasn't even meaning to read a Miami book right now but in a Library of America omnibus of crime stories I read one of Willeford's first, and it was so unusual and haunting that I went looking for more. Miami books always make me glad I moved away from Miami but they exert a certain slimy allure...The style is deadpan and precise..."Hoke finished his beer. He looked around but couldn't see a place to put down the stein without leaving a ring on the polished tables." This can be irritating but after a while you realize that you are seeing a very precise picture...which can turn from commonplace to extremely unpleasant in the blink of an eye, kind of like Miami itself. Over-the-top bad guys are abundant (I think Carl Hiassen must've been inspired by Charlie) and you rejoice that Hoke, a normal sort of aging guy in many ways, can still put them down and escape unscathed. Unscathed outwardly, that is. The final sentence of this one sums it all up.

  • Unbridled
    2018-08-01 04:55

    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.

  • Stephen
    2018-08-09 04:13

    Shockingly good. Excellent ending. If true darkness of the human condition can be said to exist down there in the bright Florida sun, this is as close as one can get to capturing it on paper. Strongly recommended. But if you are going to read a Hoke novel, read this one last.

  • wally
    2018-08-09 09:59

    this is...the 7th? from willeford for me...and i just finished another...that...i can't for the life of me remember the title of. heh! (New Hope for the Dead) it was a hoke moseley story, though...remember the second e there in his name, please...and...glancing at the brief synopsis of this one, the timing of this one follows the one i just in that one, one storyline is hoke trying to find a place to conform to the rule regulation the whatnot that miami cops live in, his new partner in that one, ellita, or something like that, some lady that might could be cuban...was pregnant...and the description for this one speaks of a newborn, or's kinda like reading the news...why bother, right? the establishment media is busy playing anal tongue darts w/obama, somehow avoiding a massive e-coli infection...unlike the commander...remember him? swallowing turd before it was sucked back into the anus? bother?whereas, stories ought to pay attention, so i'll try.this one has an intro by donald westlake...says willeford "wrote very good books for a very long time without anybody noticing." "and then along came hoke moseley."okay.story begins:tiny bock heaved his bulk from the sand chair.he stood silently in the clearing for a moment listening, but all he could hear was the whir of insects and the scuttling of a few foraging wood rats. he folded the red-and-green webbed chair, took it to the black pickup and threw it in the back. he opened the cab door and reached for the paper sack on the seat.heh! and one of the things i noticed in that last willeford story i read, one i just now finished, one i can't for the life of me recall the title--in my defense, i am reading this one like the other on the kindle, and it's not like the title page/cover page is there every time you set it down----anyway...i'd noticed the dialogue...all of it good...even the few times hoke seems to say something somewhat off the wall......that was the intent, i believe...a quirk of hoke's...and now i'm trying to remember what it was. oh yeah...something about a dog. heh! i think he was trying to throw the suspect. threw me, here's a nice opening, all action, developing character.onward and upward. update, finished, 22 sep 12, saturday evening, 7:56 p.m. e.s.t.another good hoke moseley story from willeford. moseley is an easy character to like...foibles and all. i'm a bit disappointed w/ellita running off to get married to...that man...but what can one do?the things that were left hanging at the end of the previous story...see above...are addressed here...and...hoke gets a promotion. the new chief apparently is a worker-bee, or something, the way he set up things before the big promotion. hoke solves another cold-case...with the tutored-help of gonzalez...heh!...and the initiative of another cop who drives a patrol car.all-in-all, good story-telling, i think...willeford sets up the various scenes...several sentences of description to set the place, to set characters in the place...the action rolls...the story advances...the reader is entertained.good read. more more more.

  • Ron Hefner
    2018-07-23 11:09

    It's almost as much fun reading Willeford reviews as it is reading Willeford. Well, that's a bit of hyperbole, but the reviews are amusing, especially the negative ones. Some people simply don't get it. One reviewer says Willeford spends too much time on minutiae like descriptions of food. All I can say is, these little details are what give this series its "day in the life" quality. If you read back through the other three books in the series, food is a recurring topic. It adds a basic affirmation of "life" to stories that are largely about death. Remember the famous pork chop scene in Miami Blues?The same reviewer noted that Willeford wrote a slight redundancy in this book that should have been edited out. Whether this is true or not, accusing Willeford of overwriting is incredibly absurd. It's the deadpan simplicity of Willeford's prose that makes him so extraordinary. I suppose the critic thinks Hemingway over-wrote, too.Another critic takes issue with the political incorrectness in this book, especially concerning race. All I can say is, Willeford must be howling with laughter from his grave. Of course it's politically incorrect! That's Hoke Moseley.To reiterate: Some people just don't get Willeford. Thankfully, most of us do. Elmore Leonard wrote that "Nobody writes a better crime novel" than Willeford. I suppose Leonard could be considered somewhat of an expert in the genre. Donald Westlake's preface to this book is a sincere paean to a writer who was greatly admired by every other writer in the genre, most of whom had greater commercial success than Willeford. But that's the way it always is. Someone invents something; others make money from it. _The Way We Die Now_ is unfortunately the last in the Hoke Moseley series. Willeford died the year it was published. But he definitely went out with a bang. The book is shocking, gruesome, hilarious, captivating--and life-affirming. Willeford was no nihilist. And throughout this book, we get the same sense that we got from all of the man's previous works: the feeling that Willeford is pulling our leg. Lawrence Block wrote a long tribute to Willeford that focuses on this exact tendency: Nobody ever knew when Willeford was serious or when he was joking. I guess we will never know for sure. But he sure left us with a great literary legacy.

  • Alex
    2018-08-01 03:11

    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

  • Kym Crawford
    2018-08-10 07:52

    First Thought when Finished: Dear God, I am glad that’s over, this book was incredibly boring.Story & Characters: While the characters were believable and I liked them. The story was full of build ups that fell pretty flat when you got to the resolution. The different sub-plots were resolved but it was just unremarkable. Once you got to the resolution it took so long, and the rest of the book was so boring that you didn’t even really care. We spend hours leading up to the part where he get’s to his under-cover assignment and then nothing happens, there’s no investigation, basically he kills the 2 guys and leaves after setting the place on fire.I don’t know, I was expecting something really good based on the reviews on goodreads and amazon but just like the book there was a lot of build up but it didn’t deliver. I wouldn’t read it again, I wouldn’t really recommend it to anyone either.Audio Thoughts: The narration was in my opinion the best part of the book. Stephen Bowlby has a pleasant reading voice and did pretty believable voices for each characters.*I received this book as a review copy from

  • Matthew
    2018-07-25 09:49

    Three and a half stars. I read Miami Blues years ago and thought it was brilliant and fun - a sociopathic con man and occasional haiku author goes on a crime spree with the stolen gun and badge (and false teeth!) of a curmudgeonly Miami police detective named Hoke Mosley, and opens with the death of a Hari Krishna from a broken finger. Great quirky pulp with lots of memorable moments that didn't take itself too seriously. The Way We Die Now doesn't have the hook and pace of the first novel in the series, but I think it's more substantial. Miami is changing, the police force is changing, and Hoke's family is changing, he grumbles and plows forward despite the perceived absurdity of it all. Half way through Hoke is again without his gun, badge, and his choppers far from Miami in the Florida backwoods and in a heap of trouble, but Hoke's at home in all this desperation, more so than his actual home where his observational talents don't seem to work as well. "If I'm not a detective... I'm nothing," Hoke reflects. What's a good crime novel without a little existential crisis wrapped in?

  • Nippy Katz
    2018-07-23 11:02

    This, sad to say, was Willeford's final book. He died before he could write another. It's the last book by default in the delightful Hoke Moseley series. Moseley is unique among detectives. He's middle aged, not particularly good looking, a stick in the mud, a cheapskate, and can't turn a sardonic phrase. He also has dentures, cheap bluish dentures. In this story Moseley deals with brutal rednecks who enslave Haitian farm workers in the Keys and a new neighbor across the street whom he put in prison ten years before. Moseley, as he always does, seems to blunder his way through the cases. He's not blundering. He has a very unorthodox way of problem solving. He never fails to be surprisingly insightful. I would happily read this story again. Finding out how things come out is a small part of the experience.

  • Patrick McCoy
    2018-07-31 04:53

    The Way We Die Now (1988) is the last Hoke Moseley novel as well as the last novel written by Charles Willeford. And, as usual it, was great to inhabit this downtrodden world of late 80s Florida with the engaging Hoke Moseley. It's too bad, because I can see that Willeford ended this novel with the possibility of continuing the series. There are three mysteries that Moseley solves through the course of the novel. However, in the process we gets some great descriptions of food, clothes, and subjects as diverse as: car washes, Haitian migrant workers, truck driving, Florida governors, and Rafael Sabatini's Scaramouche. The Hoke Moseley novels have been finished, however, I still have several other books by Willeford to savor and enjoy.

  • Richard
    2018-08-13 08:47

    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"?

  • Bobby Mathews
    2018-07-19 09:46

    I tried to make this one last, as it is the final Hoke Moseley novel, but I ended up waking at 4 a.m. today and accidentally finished the book. It's a fitting end to the series, with enough threads and loops left hanging that you can see there was potential to continue the series had Willeford lived.It's a hell of a good, fun, offbeat series. I wish I could rate TWWDN higher than five stars. The Moseley novels started out really, really good and peaked here in the final one. Damned fine work. You read this, and you can see a direct line from Willeford to other Florida novelists who use dark humor, like Carl Hiaasen and Jeff Lindsey.

  • Aaron
    2018-08-19 06:01

    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.

  • Chris
    2018-08-19 04:53

    Quirky and hardboiled noir, I have really developed an appreciation of this author and his unique voice over time. Sadly, this book was the last in the four volume Hoke Moseley series, I would recommend reading the series in order starting with the great "Miami Blues". In my opinion, Moseley is as much of an original and well developed character as any in crime fiction, at least in terms of what I have read so far...

  • Mike
    2018-08-09 07:07

    As others have mentioned, it is a real shame that Charles Willeford only managed four Hoke Moseley books. Hoke is unlike other police detectives in the genre...he's like a real person, not a superman but competent withal. I strongly recommend all four of this series starting with Miami Blues. You won't be disappointed.

  • Whitney
    2018-07-20 05:12

    Everything a noir should be - sad, weird, violent, funny and difficult to predict. Willeford's Hoke Mosely novels play a tune in yr. head that's all their own, and this is the one that brings it all home, kind of like The Long Goodbye, set in Florida. Don't read this one first if you're going to read the series, though, because none of the rest quite measure up.