‘Crumley in scintillating form: an anarchic, savagely violent and brilliantly written lament for a vanishing past’ Evening Standard
James Crumley is the king of hard-boiled noir, credited with inspiring the next generation of crime writers – including Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly – and best known for his two private detectives, Milo Milodragovitch and C. W. Sughrue. He brought them together for one wild, pulse-pounding ride. This is that story.
Someone shot Sughrue and left him for dead, and someone stole Milo’s $3million inheritance. And they’re not the kind of men to let it go. They’ve joined forces in El Paso and they’re set for a wild ride across America. They’re out for revenge…
‘No one in American crime fiction writes sharper, more authentic dialogue, nor more exciting action, nor, beneath the tough façade, has a greater feel for the values and mores that really matter’ The Times
Lit by flashes of brutal lyricism but bordering on incoherence, Crumley's fifth detective novel sports a hook that's certain to captivate longstanding fans: it's the first joint outing of his two aging and irascible sleuths, C.W. Sughrue (last seen in The Mexican Tree Duck, 1993) and Milo Milodragovitch (dormant since 1983's Dancing Bear). Forsaking a hard-fought sobriety after his $3 million inheritance vanishes from his Montana bank account, Milo travels to El Paso, Tex., to ask his former partner, Sughrue, to help track the errant banker. He finds Sughrue hiding out in the desert after having been shot and left to die by Chicano thugs who divulged that it was a contract hit. The two join on a desperate quest for retribution, traveling through a haze of booze, cocaine, barroom brawls and sadistic crime scenes, zigzagging from Austin to Seattle to a final showdown south of the border on the estate of a drug lord. What seems a hodgepodge of false leads begins to coalesce (after 200 pages) around a South Texas crime network that dabbles in S&Ls, money laundering and drug distribution. Crumley's harsh realism is vitiated here by James Bondish gadgetry and gunplay. While the plot reads at times like an overbudget western directed by an LSD-addled Raymond Chandler, the far-flung cast, which features small-time sleaze kings, man-eating women and a sinister general implicated in Iran-Contra, is drawn with panache. Major ad/promo.