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The Final Country Paperback – November 1, 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

It's been too long since James Crumley's last Milo Milodragovitch adventure, but the wait was worth it. The Final Country is a fully satisfying read with plenty of action, even more sex, and superb characterization.

"A chase after money and revenge had brought me to Texas, and a woman had kept me here," Milo explains. But trying to salvage a love affair, keep his PI business going, and run a tavern (whose real business is laundering drug money) hasn't kept trouble from following Milo--or maybe it's the other way around. When a man kills a drug dealer right in front of him, Milo can't help but track the shooter down, if only to keep the Texas cops from railroading him into the death chamber. Soon one beautiful woman frames Milo for the murder of a well- connected Texan, and another one with ties to both killings disappears, setting up the intricately plotted action of this fast-paced thriller.

Crumley's narrative gifts and poetic talents set this crazy-funny mystery apart. Milo is a consistently interesting protagonist, especially here, as Crumley depicts him in the fullness of middle age, a hard-boiled, bruised, and battered dick who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still believes in the redemptive powers of love--not to mention liquor, cocaine, and sex. Texas may not be Milo's natural habitat, but it's a big enough backdrop for his unique talents, and for Crumley's, too. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

PI Milo Milodragovich turns a very hammered 60 years old in this energetic, poetic, violent and extremely funny ride, which comes within a belly laugh or two of equaling Crumley's absolute masterpiece, The Last Good Kiss (1978). "The rumors of my near demise haven't been exaggerated," Milo says, "but unfortunately for my enemies, I'm not dead yet." After finally collecting his long-deferred family inheritance (plus a huge cache of loot from the bad guys) in Bordersnakes (1996), the author's previous novel, he seems ready to settle down in Texas, the state with "more handguns than cows." He has a woman he may love, and now owns a bar. Milo, however, just can't let go of investigative work. As he tracks down a wandering wife whose implants have made her the pool-playing terror of many roadhouse, he is on the scene as a gigantic black man named Enos Walker tears into a dive and kills a drug dealer. When Milo asks a couple of questions about Walker, bullets start coming his way, sending him on a cocaine-and alcohol fueled trip for answers that may be 20 years old, hidden behind deception and sex and death, going from Texas to Las Vegas and Montana. Plot twists and details seem loose and easy, yet every thread is sewn tight as a hardball. This is a brilliant achievement, with Crumley returned to his full powers, seeming to say with each assured sentence, Yeah, I'm an old dog, but I still wag the baddest bone. (Oct. 23).
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (November 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044667964X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446679640
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael Dixon on April 10, 2002
Format: Hardcover
There was a time when I thought James Crumley would become the greatest writer the mystery genre ever produced, and achieve what Chandler only attained after his death, that is, literary respectability and recognition of his talents as a great novelist of contemporary fiction. Crumley had all the gifts a great writer needs - an engaging prose style, finely constructed plotting and a unique voice. And in his earlier book, The Last Good Kiss, he spun all those elements into a story that was intoxicating in it's brillance, a book truly worthy of comparison to the best of Chandler. But thats been more than 20 years ago now and Crumley has neither continued or built upon his earlier promise of greatness. Sure, he can still write a line so good so as to make your heart skip a beat, and he can be funny as hell, but it's in fits and starts and nothing ever comes of it all. Somewhere, somehow ,the discipline that could craft a book such as the Last Good Kiss has gone and we are left with the spectacle of a now undiciplined talent repeating himself to a lesser and lesser effect each time. If you want to read the real Crumley, read The Last Good Kiss or The Wrong Case and see what you've been missing, but don't read The Final Country - it just makes those of us who admired his earlier work sad.
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Format: Hardcover
Crumley is back (finally!)with another magnificently intricate tale featuring Milo Milodragovich, the crusty, humorous, cynical, superbly violent, but now aging, P.I. from Montana who migrated to the mythical Gatlin County, TX (suburb of Austin)in the "Bordersnakes" (1996) novel. Milo (now wealthy)is still all-cattle-and-no-hat as he sorts out a Texas size imbroglio of murder, lust, greed and betrayal.
"Final Country" is another Crumley treasure. You'll find there the lyrical quality to rival Chandler, the grit to rival Hammett, violence beyond Stark or Lansdale, and the unique Crumley philosophy of individualism and virtue. Crumley is one of the very few authors working in the P.I. genre who produces literary works with the quality of detail that will pleasure the reader not only on the first reading, but also on re-reading or even re-re-reading.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ask most of the young crime writers in America who they revere and the name Crumley will fall off almost every tongue. In a genre that rewards the fast and the dirty, where publishers throw money at sloppy writing and half-assed plotting, Crumley is a beacon of quality and thoughtfulness. The man cares about the language. What a radical notion for a writer of detective novels. In The Final Country, as in any of his books, you'll find sentences both sleek and rangy, but always beautiful, thought out, worked on. And those sentences come together to form a Voice as consistent and engrossing as any on the contemporary scene - inside or outside the genre. But wait, as the pitchmen say, there's more. You also get a plot as ingeniously assembled as Lamborghini Diablo. A red one. That runs on nitroglycerin. And this books moves as fast as the Diablo. But don't worry, Milo's got his arm around you the whole way, rapping up a coke-fueled storm that, should you listen, will give you a few gem about how an ethical man lives in a foul world. Listen: as long as James Crumley can draw breath and pick up a pen, TV just doesn't stand a chance.
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Format: Hardcover
Way back in the 1970s, James Crumley wrote "The Wrong Case" and "The Last Good Kiss," two of the finest detective fiction novels ever released. If the great gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson wrote detective novels, his would read a lot like Crumley's. Alas, like Thompson, Crumley has lost a few miles-an-hour off his fastball as he's gotten older. He writes at a glacial pace, and this is his first novel in over five years (since 1996's "Bordersnakes").
The hero this time out is Milo Milodragovich, appearing in his third novel since his memorable debut in "The Wrong Case." Milo has relocated from Montana to Texas and is semi-retired on a small fortune he "stole" in "Bordersnakes." He can't stay away from the deteective game, however, and ends up with two interrelated cases, neither of which are good for his health. The story features a myriad of characters (over two dozen, I would guess) and meanders like a river across the Texas plain. The scenery is colorful, and the dialog is snappy, but the story is confused, and leads to a less than completely plausible ending. Additionally, the chief villian is only on stage for a total of about a half a dozen or so pages, and is not developed enough as a character to make the first of two climax scenes resonate.
Overall, "The Final Country" is not a bad novel. Crumley is a better writer than 99% of the mytery authors working today, and is still capable of creating vividly memorable scenes. Unfortunately, there are just not enough of them here to give this novel an unqualified recommendation.
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Format: Hardcover
There were certain books that we had to read while in school. They were considered great novels and classic literature. They were the sort of books the reader had little doubt of their greatness. The writing was sound and the characters were unforgettable. However, they just simply were not fun or enjoyable books to read. THE FINAL COUNTRY reminds me of that type of book.
Milo Milodragovich is a PI and bar owner in Texas. He comes across a large black man, Enos Walker, who offers to buy him a drink. Unbeknownst to Milo, Walker has, apparently, just killed a drug dealer. Later, the police want Milo to track Enos down so they could prosecute him for the murder. He also searches for a beautiful female con artist who might possibly have Milo convicted for murder unless he could clear himself.
THE FINAL COUNTRY is actually more of a slice of life or a look at some of the most unpleasant characters a reader might ever come across. It is not a pleasant journey. Yet, there is much poetry in the lyrical writing of Mr. Crumley:
"The norther had finally blown itself out by daylight. Dawn came to a wide clear blue sky and cool, dry air. It could have been spring in Eastern Montana. From the green, I could see the flagstone clubhouse where groups of irritated early morning golfers milled around their fancy carts and were obviously bitching about losing their tee times. Like cocaine junkies who had too much money and nothing to do with themselves."
The story, itself, is remarkably dull with the book concentrating on language and character. James Crumley is not a writer for the masses. However, he might very well appeal to the fans of noir fiction.
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