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The Last Good Kiss Paperback – November 5, 1988
"The Lying Game" by Ruth Ware
From the instant New York Times bestselling author of blockbuster thrillers In a Dark, Dark Wood and The Woman in Cabin 10 comes Ruth Ware’s chilling new novel, The Lying Game. Pre-order today
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"The last good mystery." —Rolling Stone
"James Crumley is a first-rate American writer.... pyrotechnically entertaining, sexy, compassionate." —The Village Voice
"What Raymond chandler did for the Los Angeles of the Thirties, James Crumley does for the roadside West of today." —Harper's
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An unforgettable detective story starring C.W. Sughrue, a Montana investigator who kills time by working at a topless bar.
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Top customer reviews
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas. Naked Lunch. Cryptonomicon &/or Snow Crash. The Road (Kerouac, philistine - actually, strike that, McCarthy works here too - see "Blood Meridian", though). Up Jumped the Devil. Any book written by James Ellroy.
If you enjoy gritty, perverse, darkly humorous, archetypal, depressingly-ruinous-but-somehow-cheerful writing in your fiction, this book will take all of an afternoon to finish. Upon completion, I immediately logged in and purchased every novel of Crumley's mentioning the anti-hero "Sughrue" in their descriptions.
I'm sincerely hoping the other characters; particularly old-man "Trahearne" make additional appearances. I have always loved self-depreciation in a novel - a wink and nod to reader letting us know we are in on the joke. Crumley quite often fires shots across his own bow, such as Sughrue's criticisms of Trahearne's (who coincidentally is both a poet & novelist) novels; stating the characters are one-dimensional; the men are overly manly, the women are penultimate victims. This novel revolves around that very concept, but flipped on it's head. While the men are undoubtedly "manly", the women are every bit as crass, ruthless & deviant as the males, often dominating the prose itself, their presence always felt (in particular the brief but thoroughly disturbing appearances of Trahearne's mother).
Read it. It won't be the last time you read Crumley.
"When I finally caught up with Abraham Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts, in a ramshackle joint just outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right out of a fine spring afternoon."
I had read The Last Good Kiss so many years ago that it seemed like the first time all over again when I picked it a few days ago. Fortunately, for me, I appreciated it a lot more now than I did way back when. At that time James Crumley was still alive and would go on to write more books, unfortunately, not all of them featuring Meriwether, Montana's "world weary" PI C. W. Sughrue.
Maybe I have the knack of finding authors whose books grab me who happen to have died back in 2008. The other author is Tony Hillerman. So what did I read before getting hooked on Crumley and Hillerman? Beats me. They mustn't have been all that entertaining or memorable.
Anyway, many of the reviewers who have given their opinions about The Last Good Kiss here have said just about all there is to be said, so I won't even bother writing about this book's plot and characters. I just wanted to put in my two cents and five stars. I recommend TLGK highly.
* Besides James Crumley, American poet Richard Hugo lived in Missoula. I understand that they were good friends and, I suspect, drinking buddies. It's a shame they are no longer with us.
Interspersed in the book there might be a few quotes as good as the one mentioned above, but for the most part this book, sadly, is not much more than the stereotypical hard-drinking, tough talking private investigator that solves the murder and gets all the girls.
Don't get me wrong, I like sex and violence as much as the next guy, maybe even more, but this is just too predictable. Even I managed to guess the "big twist" in the plot pages before it was revealed.
Stick with Dashiell Hammett.
Absolutely stunning, just like the brief title blurb states. Heard about this book in an Otto Penzler compilation, in an intro where he called it the "SINGLE GREATEST PRIVATE EYE NOVEL WRITTEN". No qualifiers, and from Otto Penzler, for gods' sake.
Most humble, miserable but seriously Tough PI ever.
A plot that just keeps twisting, making Ross MacDonald look like a piker, yet quite coherent.
Characters, situations, and dialogue that mainly left me breathless, but near the end crying.
Unbelievable. I will be devouring Mr. James Crumley's entire oeuvre, but I almost can't imagine he could top this. No offense, sir, in case you might notice, my fedora is off to you. BRAVO.