Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Last Good Kiss (Vintage)

Rambling, alcohol soaked, depressive detective masterpiece from Crumley. Comparisons to Hunter S. Thompson and Peckinpah(the character C.W. yearns for Ride the High Country at one point but a closer touchstone is that similarly depressive, alcohol damaged picaresque Bring me the Head of Alfredo Garcia) ring as true as Chandler. Great characters that I would follow anywhere and became absorbed with enough to be shocked when the plot turned on a dime, especially by the twists in the final pages that do what they should and turn the knife in the wound and force you to view everything that came before in blood spattered lenses. The turning on its head of many pulp cliches(the femme fatale especially), the gritty, depressive post Vietnam, post 60’s moral climate, and the geography(weird spring towns in Montana, communes in Oregon…these are all place I have been in the American west) all further endear this book to me. This is kind of a holy grail to Pelecanos, Lehane, and Burke and their gritty, character driven, literate, and substance abuse obsessed takes on noir in the decades following this Crumley classic, so if your fan of them find this key influence. Also, for the fact that the Last Good Kiss is a classic piece of American literature.

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