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The Second Half of the Double Feature Hardcover – September 1, 2003

3.8 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Before it was renamed Sideswipe for publication in 1987, Willeford called his penultimate Hoke Moseley novel The Second Half of the Double Feature . It's a title deserving of resurrection, which makes it a fitting moniker for this posthumous collection of short stories and autobiographical sketches (including seven unpublished ones). A few of the pieces can be charitably described as holding only scholarly interest, but lots of good, lean prose lurks behind the fat. Willeford, who launched the legendarily acerbic Moseley series a few years before his death in 1988, delivers indictments of human nature more wry than withering in stories that explore such weirdly wonderful notions as trying to find a date at a drive-in theater and hosting a Tupperware party for men. But the memoir sections prove most satisfying, as Willeford recounts his Army life just after World War II. A highly decorated tank commander, he eschews war stories for perfectly pitched accounts of soldiers at loose ends that bring to mind the young Hunter S. Thompson. Frank Sennett
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Review

No one writes a better crime novel than Charles Willeford. -- Elmore leonard
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 332 pages
  • Publisher: Wit's End Books; 1St Edition edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1930997302
  • ISBN-13: 978-1930997301
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,481,852 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael G. VINE VOICE on December 17, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a huge Charles Willeford fan, I try to read everything by the master I can get my hands on. Taken as a whole, this collection of 25 short works does not come up to his usual high standards. Six or 7 of the included works do qualify as compelling reading. An unfinished novel entitled "The First Five in Line..." is vintage Willeford. It has wonderful character sketches and insightfully predicts the current phenomenon of reality TV. Too bad it was never completed. Also among my favorites is "The Man who Loved Ann Landers", a short story consisting of a series of letters by a delusional lumberyard owner to the well known syndicated columnist. It is hilarious and very well crafted. Unfortunately, too many of the other stories miss the mark by lacking sufficient substance to make for a satisfying reading experience. The Kafka inspired "Everybody's Metamorphosis", which is apparently intended to be a satire of literary criticism, comes off as just plain tedious. Exactly the opposite of what one expects from Charles Willeford.
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Format: Paperback
All or at least almost all of Willeford's previously published poetry is contained in the hardback version of THE SECOND HALF OF THE DOUBLE FEATURE, along with several previously unpublished poems. But none of his poetry is in the paperback version. I'd go with the hardback version.

It is really nice that his poetry has been republished--it would've cost hundreds or possibly thousands of dollars to collect it all just prior to this book's publication.

This also contains most of the short stories and sketches that were previously published in a limited edition volume called EVERYBODY'S METAMORPHOSIS. Plus it contains some previously unpublished short works.

I would not recommend reading this until you are familiar with some of Willeford's great works, for example, COCKFIGHTER, THE BLACK MASS OF BROTHER SPRINGER, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, all of which are now fairly easy to acquire now that they have all recently been republished due to a recent surge in people discovering the brilliance of Willeford.

And I probably wouldn't read this until I'd read this incredibly interesting man's two brilliant autobiographies SOMETHING ABOUT A SOLDIER and I WAS LOOKING FOR A STREET.

By then, you will have become a Willeford fan, and after you have become a Willeford fan, or if you already are one, then you will understand why you must read the rest of his work, including THE SECOND HALF OF THE DOUBLE FEATURE.
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By A Customer on December 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I got an advance copy of this and it is absolutely brilliant. I've read most of his novels and yet this manages to catch me off guard. It's not strictly a crime collection, even though it is very recognizably the work of this offbeat master. What's most surprising about it is some of the unpublished stuff: it's just as good as the stories that have been printed before (and none of this is easily available). If you like Willeford, this is essential reading. If you're scratching your head wondering who this guy is... Elmore Leonard and Quentin Tarantino seem to love his stuff, and this is a great introduction to his body of work. It's funny, raunchy, eccentric, but it's above all insightful into the motivations and actions of the characters, and his dialogue is brilliant. Definitely worth checking out.
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