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Find a Victim: A Lew Archer Novel Paperback – Aug 14 2001


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (Aug. 14 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375708677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375708671
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.3 x 20.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #428,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Library Journal

Though it doesn't have much of a title, this Lew Archer whodunit finds the gumshoe stopping over in a small town for an inquest. The seemingly quiet community reveals itself to be a hive of incest, corruption, dope dealing, and stolen booze. All in a day's work for a hard-boiled private investigator. This 1954 volume is for all mystery collections.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

“The writing is incisive and perceptive…forceful and fast-past…powerful and personal…a strange and haunting blend.”–The New York Times Book Review

“[Ross Macdonald] carried form and style about as far as they would go, writing classic family tragedies in the guise of private detective mysteries.”–The Guardian

Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a typical private detective book from the post-WWII era. In it, as usual, the hero (Lew Archer) is accidentally involved in a case, and then decides to pursue the case, even though DANGER is everywhere. There is the requisite amount of hero-being-beat-up stuff, combined with hero-beating-others-up. There are the "bad" girls, and the who-knows-what-they-are girls (or 'gals', perhaps). There are the seedy denizens of the seedy town doing seedy things. And those are just the cops! There is also the seedy motel owner and his dissatisfied wife. Also on hand is the young criminal (just graduated from the juvenile delinquent ranks) and the wise old man who has seen much heartache.
I suspect this book was pretty hot when it came out, but it's almost a parody of the genre today, sad to say. I can stand about one Ross MacDonald a year, just to give me some perspective on this part of the mystery/suspense scene, and Find a Victim is it for this year.
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Format: Paperback
I found this "typical" novel to be a refreshing read. If you enjoy Crime novels, then you'll enjoy "Find A Victim."
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Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book, as "typical" as it maybe, I think it's well worth a read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 12 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
From early to middle Feb. 6 2014
By christopher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
He leaned forward in the creaking armchair. “What do you think of the place she’s working in? It’s a pretty low-down dive, isn’t it?”
“I’m afraid it is.”
“That’s what I told her,” he said. “I told her no young married woman should take a job in a public bar like that. Not with a boss like Kerrigan anyway. But she wouldn’t listen. I’m too old and she’s too young, and we can’t talk to each other. She thinks I’m an old fool. Maybe I am, but I can’t help worrying about her. Was she all right when you saw her?”
I didn’t have to answer. The kettle chirred and began to whistle. MacGowan went into the kitchen. While he made the tea, I tried to figure out what to say to him. He brewed it black and bitter, like my thoughts.
“This is good tea,” was what I finally said.

The fifth Lew Archer novel, published in 1950, is something of a transitional work. On the one hand, it involves the kind of tea-smoking, truck-jacking punks (and the young women who love them) so essential to Manhunt, the pulp digest where Lew Archer made his first appearance. On the other hand, there is a small-town domestic dispute- Kerrigan, Mrs. Kerrigan, the alluring (and missing) Anne Meyer- the kind of theme MacDonald would make his forte. A different kind of shadow world.

The writing is moody. This excerpt may seem too self-consciously "fine" to be first rate, but it does indicate an all too human PI:

...I drove east toward the phantom mountains. When I was a few miles outside the city limits, something broke like a capsule behind my eyes. It leaked darkness through my brain and numbness through my body. I stopped the car on the shoulder of the road. Somewhere in the hills to the southwest, the Cyclops eye of the air beacon still scanned the starless sky. I wished that I was made of steel and powered by electricity. I drove on slowly through the night-filled hills until I came to a tourist camp. I rented a cottage from a bleary-eyed boy and had a bad night’s sleep, wrestling nightmare on a lumpy bed.
macdonald at his best Aug. 20 2011
By christopher wyecross - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are not a ross macdonald fan to begin with this is as good an entry as ever to get acquainted with one of the early masters of the detective/crime novel formula. But even those who know him will not be disappointed with this particular book for, as always, anyone can find or be a victim in the California underworld.
7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Sex, murder, treachery. Nov. 22 2004
By Michael G. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Find a Victim is a classic example of California noir. While driving from L.A. to Sacramento, ace private eye Lew Archer stumbles upon a city known as Las Cruces where sordid secrets abound. Archer is a card carrying member of the hardboiled school of criminal investigation. He's a tough customer who can take a beating as well as render one if necessary.

Early in the narrative, a truck driver is murdered. As Archer seeks to solve this particular crime, he soon learns of a complex web of betrayal and deceit which binds together a number of Las Cruces' citizens.

This novel is about the seemier side of life. Illicit sex is a recurring theme, as are greed and jealousy.

MacDonald uses a highly descriptive type of prose, much of which is quite artfully written. And there are several distinct subplots which are all tied together at the story's dramatic conclusion. Though I found the narrative to be more convoluted than necessary, I have no trouble recommending Find a Victim to anyone who likes their mysteries hardboiled.
3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Detective fiction at its finest Feb. 19 2010
By Peter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is regarded as one of MacDonald's lesser works as certain parts of the storyline appear contrived and a little in the pulp fiction territory of the day (eg the book starts off with Lew Archer driving along a highway and finding a man shot and needing help), I can understand this sentiment and in relation to MacDonald's other Archer books, this novel is weaker but it is still highly acceptable.

The Lew Archer series dealt with the sins of the past catching up on families and what could happen if people tried to eradicate those past sins.

It is not ultra-violent and there are no scenes in the books that make you wish you hadn't read them (unlike some crime books today). It is simply the best detective fiction ever written.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Archer and his "messianic complex" April 6 2012
By Booker G - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Find a Victim" is the usual fare from Ross Macdonld, meaning Lew Archer once again gets involved with an incestuous group of grim and miserable people who are suspects in at least one murder. This time around Archer is on his way to Sacramento on business when he finds a dying man along the side of the highway near the town of Las Cruces. Archer takes it upon himself to bring the man to the first hotel he finds, from which he plans to call for an ambulance. What he doesn't know when he drives up to the hotel is that the people he meets there are intimately involved in the mess Archer is about to step into and which he can't walk away from.

This book is different from the previous early series entries in that Archer is not on a case but sticks his nose into business unrelated to his own anyway. His messianic complex, as he describes his need to help those who seem helpless, takes over. As usual, he stirs up a great deal of dislike for himself as well as general chaos that eventually leads to the culprits revealing themselves. Of course, there are beautiful women who cling to Archer in their distress. There are clashes with the local law enforcement. There is family dysfunction.

Macdonald reveals a few gems about Archer in this book. There is a brief discussion on why his marriage ended and a few sentences about his own delinquency in growing up in Los Angeles and how it came to an end. There are also references to his time on Okinawa during the World War II battle there. I really think these tidbits add to the book.

Despite the repetition of many elements, Macdonald finds a way to make each case fresh. One thing he does is have new settings in California for each book. Most are near Los Angeles, but he still makes them seem unique with his scenery description. Using a small town inland and north of LA provides a nice change in this book.

Macdonald writes his books using many interesting metaphors. Sometimes they work wonderfully, and other times they seem silly. His dialogue is a little hokey at times, but that seems to be part of the noir genre and thus inevitable.

For more mystery series that may entertain you, check out my website describing and reviewing many series (see my Amazon profile for the URL).


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