Named one of Kirkus Reviews' Best Indie Books of 2016.
'Curl up on the analyst's couch with all your favorite mystery scribes, as Karen Huston Karydes sleuths out the neurotic, personal threads that make up the warp and the weft of their greatest fictions. A dark, yet illuminating read.' - Kim Cooper, author of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles and The Kept Girl
For close to fifty years, three masters of the hard-boiled detective novel dispatched intrepid gumshoes into upper-crust homes and seedy back alleys, peeling back and exposing all the pretexts of polite society. Or did they? Were there even closer, darker secrets they never quite copped to?
In Hard-Boiled Anxiety, Karen Huston Karydes offers a new and unsettling reading of the classic pairings: Dashiell Hammett and his successive shamuses, the Continental Op, Sam Spade, and Nick Charles; Raymond Chandler and his brooding knight errant, Philip Marlowe; and Ross Macdonald and his 1960s sleuth, Lew Archer.
Each novelist, though celebrated in the American pantheon, harbored ghosts, injuries, and a guilty backstory of his own. Their fictional detectives served as doubles, in ways both flamboyant and subtle, as the authors wrestled inner demons and labored, in Karydes's words, to "write themselves well."
Included are remarkable observations from a memoir kept by Ross Macdonald as he underwent psychotherapy in the 1950s, never divulged at this length until the publication of this volume.
Sigmund Freud, welcome to Sunset Boulevard.