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The Way Some People Die (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) Paperback – July 10, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
The Way Some People Die contains plenty of good dialogue as well as numerous descriptive passages notable for their insightful detail. The intricately constructed narrative contains several intriguing plot elements that are ultimately tied together in the final pages. A 4 star effort, not quite up to the standard of Macdonald's best work, but nevertheless a worthwhile read for hardboiled crime fans.
The most likely place to start is with Tarantine's brother, Mario, but he is laid up in the hospital after a terrible beating that leaves him almost unrecognizable. Still Mario is the closest lead to his brother, although Archer gets sidetracked by a local drug dealer with influence enough to corrupt some local law enforcement. Surrounded by a grotesque band of thugs, Dowser, a former boxer, has Lew escorted to his fortified hilltop home between Santa Monica and Pacific Palisades. His intention is to enlist Archer's aid in locating Joe Tarantine, since they are both interested in finding the same man, offering a decent reward; the PI plays along since that is likely the only way he will leave the enclave in one piece.Read more ›
It all started out so simple, an over-protective mother, looking for her adult missing daughter. She hadn't heard from her for a few months and was truly distraught. It was obvious by her humble surroundings that she had little money, but Archer didn't want to work for free. He was reluctant to get involved, but Mrs. Lawrence was adamant and showed him a picture. Galley was her name and she was definitely a looker. He agreed to do a little poking around if Mrs. Lawrence would pay him fifty dollars. But he was sure it would be a dead end.
That was a bad call...
Galley had left little behind to trace, but it was enough to get Archer started. It appeared she had unknowingly become involved with some unsavory characters. It was quite possible she was in definite danger. The more Archer dug, the deeper he was pulled in. Cross-country searches, illegal activities, and drugs weave a tangled web of deception-but that is just the beginning. Just when he gets close to Joe Tarantine, a major link to Galley, he often slips away.
When Galley finally surfaces, Archer is determined to set her free. The stakes are high and the risks are chancy at best, but that's just part of the job. When things really get hot, the police are involved. But will they trust his instincts or write Archer off?
Witnesses and sources turn against each other and Archer is stuck in the middle. Some times he's just ahead of the police but the next time he's to late. Sorting out the truth in between the lines is a challenge, will Archer's persistence pay off in the end or will the real truth slip away?
This is one of 18 Lew Archer novels published between 1949 and 1976.Read more ›
Having known that when I started The Way Some People Die (written 1951), I was still surprised to find it pedestrian and somewhat less than gripping. The plot is appropriately complex, but of all MacDonald's books this definitely comes across as undistinguished and derivative of Chandler in particular. The comings and goings of several characters (especially the daughter who Archer is hired to find at the beginning) make little sense, and the environment of gangsters, thugs and hired goons is not what MacDonald does best, and they're the kind of Hollywood stock characters that make this book feel tired and dated in a way that no other MacDonald books are.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My first Ross McDonald book. I would recommend him highly. A true master of the genre.Published 3 months ago by Mvyer
a twist at the end worthy of Agatha Christie -- but a sterling early entry in Macdonald's searing dig into postwar Los Angeles and the costs of changing cultural and economic... Read morePublished 6 months ago by John D. Case
Classic R Macdonald. If you like him, you'll like this. If you've never read Lew Archer stories, this would be a good one to start with. You also might like, Shining TargetPublished 6 months ago by David Elliott
I highly recommend reading this book. I missed this one previously, came as a wonderful surprise to find one I hadn't read.Published 7 months ago by Dmriley
This and other Ross Mcdonald novels of the era are wonderful tales about the cases of a PI in the late '40's and early '50's in Southern California. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jim Spray
If I were looking for a novel that bespoke the noir private detective genre with decisive clarity and suitable feeling, Ross MacDonald's book The Way Some People Die would be an... Read morePublished 8 months ago by not a natural
The Way People Die is an uninspired, even boring private eye tale about California staples: a daughter who went missing, mobsters, turf fights, drugs, sex, double crossing,... Read morePublished 9 months ago by H. Schneider