Bordersnakes Mass Market Paperback – Sep 1 1997
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This is a raucous road trip of a novel. Crumley teams up two of his established protagonists, Milo Milodragovitch, his Montana one-horse-town private eye, and C.W. Sughrue, a Texas brawler, on the trail of an embezzling banker and the one who sent a hit man to kill Sughrue. Hungry for retribution, the two blaze across Texas in a cherry-red El Dorado, sharing drugs and booze, and encountering a weird and wonderful set of characters along the way. The action is fast and violent, but the tone is always good humored. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Lit by flashes of brutal lyricism but bordering on incoherence, Crumley's fifth detective novel sports a hook that's certain to captivate longstanding fans: it's the first joint outing of his two aging and irascible sleuths, C.W. Sughrue (last seen in The Mexican Tree Duck, 1993) and Milo Milodragovitch (dormant since 1983's Dancing Bear). Forsaking a hard-fought sobriety after his $3 million inheritance vanishes from his Montana bank account, Milo travels to El Paso, Tex., to ask his former partner, Sughrue, to help track the errant banker. He finds Sughrue hiding out in the desert after having been shot and left to die by Chicano thugs who divulged that it was a contract hit. The two join on a desperate quest for retribution, traveling through a haze of booze, cocaine, barroom brawls and sadistic crime scenes, zigzagging from Austin to Seattle to a final showdown south of the border on the estate of a drug lord. What seems a hodgepodge of false leads begins to coalesce (after 200 pages) around a South Texas crime network that dabbles in S&Ls, money laundering and drug distribution. Crumley's harsh realism is vitiated here by James Bondish gadgetry and gunplay. While the plot reads at times like an overbudget western directed by an LSD-addled Raymond Chandler, the far-flung cast, which features small-time sleaze kings, man-eating women and a sinister general implicated in Iran-Contra, is drawn with panache. Major ad/promo.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
So begins a crimson swathe surging from Seattle to Texas to Mexico as Milo looks for his money, and Sughrue for the men who hurt him.
"Anybody who speaks badly of revenge ain't never lost nothing important" says Sughrue early in the novel. As the body count mounts, Crumley weaves a tale that blends Hollywood movie producers, Mexican drug lords, good cops, bad cops, and a string of violent men (as well as similarly violent women) while keeping the issue of revenge front and center, simmering.
Crumley's point of view bounces between Milo and Sughrue with each taking a first person turn spinning the yarn. In less capable hands, there'd be a clunky shift as the story passes one to the other. Crumley pulls it off seamlessly.
Bordersnakes is a fine novel. It's challenging, violence- filled and slightly philosophic without being preachy. It deserves a spot on your shelf.
In this story, Crumbley ties-up some of his long running plot-lines: Milo's money and Sughrue's fear of relationships. Milo's long awaited inheritance is embezzled before he receives it, and the old war-horse sets out to find the banker who robbed him. On the way he enlists Sughrue's help. In the meantime Sughrue enlists Milo's help to find the Chicano assassins who left him gut-shot and for dead. Coincidentally, they find the two events are linked.
This is classic Crumbley with his gritty scenes and pithy prose. It would help for the reader to have read previous Crumbley novels like "One to Count Cadence" or "The Last Good Kiss" for background. However, this is two tough, old men taking on a bunch of very bad characters relying on a wealth of experience, firepower, and their ability to absorb tremendous punishment. Along the way they find time to get drunk, stoned, and laid--great stuff.
In places the story is a little weak. Crumbley may know his way around a MOSSBERG 500 BULLPUP, but laptops and cryptography are blackboxes and blackmagic. It seems like every gumshoe now needs a pet geek to move the plot along. Finally, Milo and Sughrue have always been much the same character. Putting the two of them together in the same story was a Sybil-like reading experience. Both characters speak with the same voice.
If you are a Crumbley fan read it. The only problem you will have is "who do you like better, Milo or Sughrue"? Otherwise, the uninitiated may find this novel a bit confusing.
I see from another review that the two main characters were from previous books, and perhaps reading those would have helped with some background on them.
But even so I find it hard to believe that knowing their background would have made the book any more enjoyable.
Many times I set the book down thinking I would just throw it away, but I'm very persistant and kept reading thinking that the book HAD to get better. Unfortunately it didn't.
The book ended and I was left trying to figure out what happened. In the end I got nothing out of this book but lost time.
Most recent customer reviews
Milo and Sugrue booze and snort and fight their way, around the Nexican border mostly, with a few stops in the Northwest. Read morePublished on Jan. 14 2003 by D. P. Birkett
James Crumley is almost frightening in the way he writes. He evokes things that most authors can only dream of. Read morePublished on Aug. 20 2000 by Logan Wiley III
I often read to relax before bed. This book was exceptionally good at not holding my attention and after a paragraph or two, I nodded off blissfully. Read morePublished on Nov. 13 1999 by Amazon Customer
James Crumley's 1996 Bordersnakes is an example of the "hard-bitten", "tough guy" genre, and tells the story of two alcoholic ne'er-do-wells in search of a... Read morePublished on Nov. 15 1998 by Rick Hunter