Thursday, August 10, 2006


One of the benefits of being in the wilderness without TV or the Internet is that I was able to get some reading done. Notably, The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley and Mr. Paradise by Elmore Leonard, both are Dexter recommended.
Mr. Paradise is a straight up police-crime story with delightful Elmore Leonard dialogue - nobody does dialogue quite as well. It's a good read but hardly memorable. The Last Good Kiss on the other hand is quite an enjoyable book that I don't think I'll forget anytime soon. Crumley is the guy who wrote The Mexican Tree Duck and One to Count Cadence which if memory serves me were Dexter recommended as well. The Last Good Kiss is a detective story that keeps you guessing without trying to be clever, although it's awfully clever and awfully funny. Drunk bulldogs, missing daughters and an author on a bender. The protagonist, C.W. Sughrue is an ex Army MI guy with a literary bent, who's a bit of a lush but still highly functional. No wonder Dexter liked it. Sughrue is detached but not broken. Like a bartender out of a Hemingway story, he has his code of honor and his demons. You know he's a good guy, but he's not too good. The sort of guy who won't drink your last beer, but has a gun locker hidden in the bottom of his tool chest. The term hard boiled has been bandied about rather recklessly, I'm not sure what it means anymore. To be sure Sughrue is a hard case, but a clever literary one, I enjoyed the time I spent in his world but I'm glad I live in mine.

1 comment:

Dexter said...

You should continue with this series as time allows. The Milodragovitch character is equally compelling. And then when they team up in the later novels its nitro action. The order of pub is as follows:
The Wrong Case (1975) -Milo
The Last Good Kiss (1978) -Sughrue
Dancing Bear (1983) -Milo
The Mexican Tree Duck(1993)-Sughrue
Bordersnakes(1996)-Sughrue and Milo
The Final Country (2001)-Milo
The Right Madness (2005)- Sughrue