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The Final Country Paperback – Nov 1 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press (Nov. 1 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 044667964X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446679640
  • Product Dimensions: 22 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 295 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #938,436 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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3.3 out of 5 stars
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Format: Hardcover
This is the story of hard-drinking Milo, the antihero of previous novels in this series. He appears more like an arch villian, the exact opposite of a hero.
The thing I liked about this book is its white binding. You don't see many in white, more so in black. White is for purity. Pure is what this book is not about.
Betty had her own pickup truck in this tale. There is a black Buddha who is good enough to buy Milo a drink. He, like my son Geoffrey complains of a bad back, but it doesn't slow down his pace or actions.
The final country is supposedly Texas, that big state which thinks it is a country of its own. Or it could be Montana, according to John Steinbeck in TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY. He seems to think that Paris is the new 'country' where he might just end up, but I'm not taking bets on that happening.
Using voodoo hit close to home, as did B. L.Brammer's description of it as the boondocks. I know first hand about living in the boondocks and the possibility of having the curse of voodoo alive and thriving in today's world.
The author, a college English teacher who gets his kicks out of writing crime novels,has previously had seven books published. He puts me in mind of Larry McMurtry who wrote a novel, SUTTREE, about my hometown of Knoxville, TN. He, too, is touted by the publishers as a good writer. I know someone here who has met him in a bar on Gay Street and appreciates him as a fellow drinker and writer.
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Format: Paperback
'The Final Country' is my first novel by James Crumley. Since it is an award-winning mystery, complete with accolades from amazon.com (on their Best of 2001 list), I thought I couldn't go wrong with it. Wrong. No, the book isn't awful. It's more like a mess with some interesting bits strewn about.
As for the story, well this is hard to explain. We have an aging private investigator from Montana fighting all sorts of nasty people (druggies, tramps, law enforcers) in Austin, Texas. Lots of strange characters, which is one of the book's strengths, caught up in a completely ridiculous plot. The book is also compromised by its absurd violence, on the order of a Quentin ('Kill Bill') Tarentino film. Yet Crumley's prose is rather decent, complete with crisp (and often hilarious) dialogue.
Bottom line: a hit-and-miss sort of book. But for this reader it was mostly a miss.
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Format: Hardcover
There were certain books that we had to read while in school. They were considered great novels and classic literature. They were the sort of books the reader had little doubt of their greatness. The writing was sound and the characters were unforgettable. However, they just simply were not fun or enjoyable books to read. THE FINAL COUNTRY reminds me of that type of book.
Milo Milodragovich is a PI and bar owner in Texas. He comes across a large black man, Enos Walker, who offers to buy him a drink. Unbeknownst to Milo, Walker has, apparently, just killed a drug dealer. Later, the police want Milo to track Enos down so they could prosecute him for the murder. He also searches for a beautiful female con artist who might possibly have Milo convicted for murder unless he could clear himself.
THE FINAL COUNTRY is actually more of a slice of life or a look at some of the most unpleasant characters a reader might ever come across. It is not a pleasant journey. Yet, there is much poetry in the lyrical writing of Mr. Crumley:
"The norther had finally blown itself out by daylight. Dawn came to a wide clear blue sky and cool, dry air. It could have been spring in Eastern Montana. From the green, I could see the flagstone clubhouse where groups of irritated early morning golfers milled around their fancy carts and were obviously bitching about losing their tee times. Like cocaine junkies who had too much money and nothing to do with themselves."
The story, itself, is remarkably dull with the book concentrating on language and character. James Crumley is not a writer for the masses. However, he might very well appeal to the fans of noir fiction.
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By James G. Greenhill on Sept. 5 2003
Format: Paperback
Maybe it's me, but I just didn't get this book. Lured by good reviews from credible sources, evocative cover art (on the British edition, not the U.S. one), the book's award and the writer's reputation, I dived in for an entertaining escape & emerged impatient & disappointed. What saves the book are some good scenes, some decent description of place & some well-drawn characters. But for me the experience was more like reading a series of creative writing vignettes than a novel. The novel lacks a center, a heart. There is a confusion of characters who lack much more characterization than names & therefore are hard to separate. One character (Molly) changes abruptly from one personality earlier in the novel to another later on to the degree that it was difficult for me to see her as the same person (though I liked Molly No. 2). I found the plot confusing, hard to follow & too sketchy. I didn't know nearly enough about many of the people who turned out to be central characters in the plot's resolution. I specifically did NOT find (as The London Times promised) "lyrical descriptions of an almost vanished West" but rather a fairly average sense of place. On the other hand, Milo & bisexual Betty are interesting characters & the book does have a certain feel to it, so I'm thoroughly ambivalent. Given there's enough reading for several lifetimes out there, I'd recommend choosing something else.
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