Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The Way We Die Now by Charles Willeford
(pb; 1988: fourth/final book in the Hoke Moseley series. Introduction by Donald E. Westlake)
From the back cover:
"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 one 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 trying 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."
Excellent finale in the Hoke Moseley series. The novel's ending heavily hints at future Moseley books, but I'm guessing that Willeford's death, which came shortly after Way's publication, cut the series short.
Way naturally, seamlessly builds off of, and incorporates, elements and events from previous Moseley novels, and, for this reader, its recurring characters are practically real people, whose in-novel actions made me unconsciously nod and think Yeah, that's what they'd do, as if they were old friends, not page-bound characters.
Low-key and amiable in tone, even with its brief, spine-tingling violence, this is one of my favorite reads this year.
The Way We Die Now is worth owning - just like the rest of the Hoke Moseley quadrilogy: Miami Blues, New Hope for the Dead and Sideswipe.