Tuesday, 9 August 2016

2 BY CHARLES WILLEFORD - PART 2

A couple this week from Charles Willeford.

Actually he's featured before back in August, 2014!


I’m a sucker for Willeford. I enjoyed a couple of his Hoke Moseley novels and then starting digging into his back catalogue…..High Priest of California, Pick Up, Wild Wives, Cockfighter.

I even went as far as getting a copy of the 1974 film of the aforementioned starring Warren Oates. A bit like a lot of my unread books – I haven’t watched it yet! Charles Willeford actually has a small part in the film, as well as writing the screenplay for it.


I've enjoyed all his books that I've read so far, but the Moseley series remains my favourite.

They were his most commercially successful books, but he tried to sabotage his own series before it had nearly begun.

"Grimhaven" is the manuscript for a unpublished book by hard-boiled crime writer Charles Willeford. Originally intended as Willeford's sequel to Miami Blues, the novel was deemed too dark for publication, and his agent refused to send it on to the publisher. The novel New Hope for the Dead was later written and published as the second book in the Hoke Moseley series.







Hoke Moseley
1. Miami Blues (1984)
2. New Hope for the Dead (1985)
3. Sideswipe (1987)
4. The Way We Die Now (1988) 





Charles Willeford passed in 1988, just as I was getting into crime fiction!







The Woman Chaser (1960)

'No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford' Elmore Leonard

By day, Richard Hudson, woman-chaser and used-car salesman, works his crooked car lot with much success. By night, he returns home to a family of misfits. One day, seized by a feeling of terror and revulsion, he realises he's wasting his life in the meaningless pursuit of money. His only hope, he decides, is to pursue his dream of making a movie.

Richard completes his cherished project, but forces beyond his control swiftly reject and destroy it. As a result, enraged and humiliated, he goes on a bender of epic proportions, drinking his way through the underbelly of Los Angeles and exacting a monstrous revenge on all who have crossed him.

The Machine in Ward Eleven (1963)


A collection of stories by Charles Willeford

The re-issue of Willeford's 1963 pulp classic features six incisive tales as fresh as the day they were first published. These stories are a timely reminder that madness is truly at the heart of 21st century politics.


Writing at a time when we still had some faith in our elected leaders, Willeford laid bare the American Dream. Events over the last 30-odd years have stripped away the hype and pomp but Willeford was there first. There is an almost Chekhovian wistfulness in the treatment of his stories which belies their considerable impact. Don't make the mistake of consigning this to some sort of historical context: Willeford is as chilling and relevant as ever.

14 comments:

  1. Col – Willeford wrote some very good books. I will have to look for that Warren Oates movie. Oates seemed born to play a Willeford character.

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    1. More in hope than expectation, I had a look on you tube and I found it there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xahMOg1VAZ8

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    2. Thanks for the link, Col – I will check it out tonight. My wife is going out with the girls, so I am on my own to watch whatever I like. (Um, that sounds wrong. I mean, a low-budget crime film from the 1970s. You know what … I’d better sign off before I get into trouble.)

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    3. Haha...I know exactly what you mean. Now I've found the link I'm kind of tempted to watch it myself as well - by a spooky coincidence my wife is out with my daughters for a couple of hours. I didn't realise YouTube was such a goldmine.
      Paul D. Brazill tipped me off to McQueen's The Getaway the other day and I also found Hopscotch with Walter Matthau and Glenda Jackson. I've been wanting to watch that for a couple of years now, ever since I read the book by Brian Garfield.

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    4. YouTube is indeed a goldmine. Not only are there more movies than you could ever watch, there are many, many foreign films, television shows, cartoons, and more. And there are all kinds of “how to” videos, which have helped a lot and saved me a bunch of money. - HOPSCOTCH is one I would like to see again. Tonight might be a double feature.

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    5. I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts on both!

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  2. I've read something by him in the past, don't remember title, and am open to being persuaded to more. Bring on the reviews...

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    1. Maybe I'll shock you by starting with some of his poetry! Proletarian Laughter or Poontang - I can't decide!

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    2. I love Willeford! -K.

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  3. Definitely an author I plan to read, Col. I keep seeing reviews of his books online and especially on blog sites.

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    1. Prashant, I'll be interested to hear what you think of his work.

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  4. As I have said before, I am sure, I have some of his books, and plan to read them. But I have been saying that for a while.

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    1. Tracy, I'll look forward to hearing about it when you do.

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