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Death Is a Lonely Business Paperback – March 1, 1999
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But now it's the early 1950s, and foggy, shabby Venice is the last stop on the circus train for scores of old silent-movie stars and young writers trying to keep their art and their bodies alive. As Bradbury's autobiographical hero, a young writer, pounds out his short stories, someone is killing off the older denizens of the tacky city. The writer joins forces with a quirky detective called Elmo Crumley and a faded screen star to investigates the deaths. Their search begins and ends in one of those iconic, waterlogged cages.
Blending hard-boiled detective fiction with beautiful descriptions of this strange Californian town, Death Is a Lonely Business is well worth investigating. --Dick Adler
From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
The city of Venice in 1949 is a place for the down-and-out, its pier and amusement park crumbling, its rollercoaster lying on its side "like the bones of a vast dinosaur," old animal cages abandoned in the canals and filled with fish, and the oil pumps looking like "great pterodactyls" as they creak and groan. Inhabited by "the lonelies," old people with no futures, Venice is a dark and dismal place in those final days before the pier is demolished. Bradbury's hypnotic descriptions of this decrepitude provide dramatic contrasts with the young speaker who still has hopes, dreams, and a future.
With veteran detective Elmo Crumley as his mentor, the speaker tries to save lives and outwit a mysterious stalker, as more and more sad, old people meet their deaths.Read more ›
_Death is a Lonely Business_ is Ray Bradbury's tribute to Hammet, Chandler, Cain and Ross McDonald. It is a very engrossing noir detective story, with the young Bradbury as the main character. More or less. The main character is a struggling, starving writer living in Venice, CA with a girlfriend studying in Mexico. Strange deaths begin occuring around him, seemingly triggered by a mysterious encounter with a man he calls at one point "Death's friend".
With the aid of a detective and a reclusive, yet very much alive actress, he attempts to unravel the mystery before the people he most cares about come to harm.
Bradbury's writing style, though for some perhaps a bit wordy and "purple", pulls the reader into the story, making him feel and see the world through the eyes of the main character. Once I began reading it, I found it very difficult to stop and go to school; I wanted to keep reading until the end.
The story itself, through the deliberate use of death and loss, affirms life and demands that the reader seize the moment and pursue life, happiness, and even pain. For by avoiding pain, we die a slow, lonely death.
In short, it is a book that I would highly recommend to anyone, even those dyed-in-the-wool single genre people. This has strong fantasy elements in it, and plenty of references to other books and stories by Bradbury.
What a pleasant and welcome way to rediscover a favorite author.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This was a great story, and if you love Bradbury as I do, I think you will love this. It is his hard-boiled detective story like Dashiell Hammett, and it ,to me , has vintage... Read morePublished 12 months ago by Icelandic wanderer
Well written and a fun read. Interesting extension of Bradbury's earlier works.Published 13 months ago by dan jones
With this book, Ray Bradbury not only returned to writing full-length fiction after a long absence, but returned to the roots of his writing after an even longer absence. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Ralph Vaughan
This is that greatest of rarities, a true novel by Ray Bradbury. The only other novels he really wrote were Something Wicked, F451, and the two sequels to this, A Graveyard for... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Manly Reading
Bradbury struck a perfect blend of surreal and fantasy with more than just a bit of hard-boiled noir in this, the first of his Crumley Mysteries.
The story is unique. Read more
Ray Bradbury recreates a lost American treasure while spinning a good mystery yarn. Makes you wish for a working time machine.Published on April 29, 2014 by Befuddled
As others stated, its verrry wordy. Lots of descriptives, which confuse rather than enhance. Slow plot.
Great era and location tho. Wish i could go back in time to old venice. Read more
Unusual Bradbury book. I hadn't heard of it before, was browsing Amazon for books. Written in the first person, sounds like parts are based on some of his early experiences as a... Read morePublished on March 6, 2014 by Leonore Proctor
Ray Bradbury takes a 90 degree turn from his usual plotlines to give us this intruiging murder myster. Read morePublished on February 10, 2014 by L. Dusterwald