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Dancing Bear Paperback – September 12, 1984


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Dancing Bear + The Wrong Case + The Last Good Kiss
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Books ed edition (September 12, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039472576X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394725765
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Detective Milo Dragovitch spends too much time boozing until he gets caught up in a case involving two-bit criminals and an old lady on the run.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Rubendall HALL OF FAME on February 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
If the great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson ever took to writing detective fiction, this is how it would most likey read. Crumley's P.I. Milo Milodragovitch is back from his best written work, "The Wrong Case." This story is far more violent and drug addled than the previous Milo adventure, and that weakens it somewhat. But its still a hell of a fun ride. Crumley's prose at times remind you of the Dr.'s "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas." Given that Milo also haunts the West, this is an apt analogy. Overall, this is an exellent hardboiled detective fiction novel that is not for the faint of heart.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By sweetmolly on September 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Crumley hits all the bulls-eyes, but why are we doing this? The characters are etched like diamonds, but I never figured out what or who was directing the dance. "Dancing Bear" is 228 pages long. On page 221, Milodragovitch says "Hell lady, I'm still not real sure what this was all about." Milo's comment made me feel marginally better. How could I be expected to know when the hero didn't?
Milo obtains a break from his security job to take a well paying case from a wealthy elderly lady who seems to want nothing more than to find out what her neighbors are up to. It quickly transpires the "neighbors" are up to deadly games. Milo's new allies are over-interested in his inherited 3,000 acres of prime land, and one is the type of environmentalist we all love to hate. She is the Aquarian kind who has her eyes so firmly fixed on the "big" picture that she neither notices nor cares about the devastation she is wreaking while straining for her goal. Another ally is out to prove no man can ever resist her charms; all she has to do is put her mind to it. And these are his friends! You ought to see the bad guys! Trouble is we never are clued in to exactly what the motivation is for anyone but Milo. He just plain gets sick and tired of everyone trying to knock him off. Very understandable.
"Dancing Bear" is an interesting read because of the well-drawn characters. Crumley zeros in so well on an overweight, hard-as-nails, prostitute; we understand perfectly why Milo finds her an irresistible Red Hot Mama---not an easy task. The pace is fast, but we don't know where we are going, and the master crime/criminal is about as amorphous as having a vague discontent with General Motors. It was not the follow-up I expected to the brilliant "The Wrong Case."
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By "miltbrann" on July 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
James Crumley seems sadly overlooked when people start namedropping Raymond Chandler's successors. Perhaps because Crumley puts himself and his stories so delibaretly outside the normal scheme, with detectives rather operating in Montana and Wyoming than on the sunny sidewalks of California. Crumley's finest moment is without a doubt the bitter "The last good kiss" but I still regard this work superior compared to what else you may find of your standard crime litterature.
Never one to picture a warm and healthy society Crumley introduces us to our anti-hero Milo as he has given up his work as a P.I. and started working as a security guard. What he has not thrown away with his former job is a drug and alcohol abuse that would kill even Dean Martin's liver. As Milo finds himself accepting to do a small and trivial case for an old lady that knew him as a child, he's tangled up in a web of violence, narcotics and everything else you would expect our northern states devoid of. Crumley's prose is accurate and poignant filled with dark satire and sometimes hilariously funny. The link drawn between him and Hunter S. Thompson is not as far-fetched as one might think.
The book seems to take of halfway with a violent twist that seems unnecessary and almost speculative. (Although nothing compared to Crumley's latest "The Mexican Tree Duck" which is a long tirade of doped-out violence.)
All in all the book turns out (as most of his novels) as a whacked-out "On The Road" story, told by a far more believeable character than the late Philip Marlowe.
***(*) stars on the barometer.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 22, 1996
Format: Paperback
Milo returns from The Wrong Case to do a favor for a lady. He then finds he's a pawn in a sinister cover-up.
He elegantly weaves his personal demons and his family/regional history into an exciting saga of bottomless evil, suspense
and personal redemption. The climax is first rate and the characters are memorable.
Crumley is the best living detective writer
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 2003
Format: Paperback
A good book has you reading as quicky as possible. But when you finish you wish it would have lasted longer. That's true of this book. It still is after multiple readings.
I've read all his books and still can't tell the difference between Milo and Sughrue. All I know is that both characters have only a marginally superior sense of right and wrong compared to the "bad guys". People who like their heroes clean cut should read Robert Crais' Elvis Cole series.
His later books haven't been as good, but I still read them to keep up on the wanderings of the characters.
If you want a change of pace, read "One to Count Cadence", his first novel.
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