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Willeford, Charles

Entry updated 12 August 2018. Tagged: Author.

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(1919-1988) US soldier – much decorated in World War Two – and author, best known for noir crime thrillers like The Burnt Orange Heresy (1971) and for the equally dark police thrillers in the Miami-based Hoke Moseley series, most famously the first title in the sequence, Miami Blues (1984). In a prefiguration of the surreal juxtapositions examined in his work, Willeford's first novel, High Priest of California (1953), was bound with a reprint of Talbot Mundy's Lost Race novel, Full Moon (1935); Willeford's novel comes close to the fantastic in its portrayal of a Sex cult dominated by a murderous Messiah figure. This exorbitance also informs the studies of psychopathology (see Psychology) in The Machine in Ward Eleven (coll 1963), some of these tales being sufficiently extreme to be understood – certainly in recent years – as prophetic of sf concerns in the new century. [JC/PN]

Charles Ray Willeford III

born Little Rock, Arkansas: 2 January 1919

died Miami, Florida: 27 March 1988

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