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The Final Country [Paperback]

James Crumley
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Nov. 1 2002
Milo Milodragovitch is back in Texas, running the bar of his dreams and trying to do a little private investigating on the side. His relationship with his woman is on the rocks, especially since he had an overnight fling with Molly McBride, the classy dame with the taste for single malt scotch. Now, Molly's persuaded Milo to help her search for and bring to justice the lowlife who raped and murdered her sister. What appears to be a simple stakeout turns hideously violent when it's discovered that Molly's prey is no ordinary miscreant, but a whirl-wind of brutality with major political connections. Soon Milo is calling on connections of his own, including shady computer geniuses, taciturn bodyguards, underground crank manufacturers, and his old pal C.W. "Sonny" Sughrue, in a plot that takes him from sweaty, dusty Mexico to the subzero mountains of Montana.

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From Amazon

It's been too long since James Crumley's last Milo Milodragovitch adventure, but the wait was worth it. The Final Country is a fully satisfying read with plenty of action, even more sex, and superb characterization.

"A chase after money and revenge had brought me to Texas, and a woman had kept me here," Milo explains. But trying to salvage a love affair, keep his PI business going, and run a tavern (whose real business is laundering drug money) hasn't kept trouble from following Milo--or maybe it's the other way around. When a man kills a drug dealer right in front of him, Milo can't help but track the shooter down, if only to keep the Texas cops from railroading him into the death chamber. Soon one beautiful woman frames Milo for the murder of a well- connected Texan, and another one with ties to both killings disappears, setting up the intricately plotted action of this fast-paced thriller.

Crumley's narrative gifts and poetic talents set this crazy-funny mystery apart. Milo is a consistently interesting protagonist, especially here, as Crumley depicts him in the fullness of middle age, a hard-boiled, bruised, and battered dick who, despite all evidence to the contrary, still believes in the redemptive powers of love--not to mention liquor, cocaine, and sex. Texas may not be Milo's natural habitat, but it's a big enough backdrop for his unique talents, and for Crumley's, too. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

PI Milo Milodragovich turns a very hammered 60 years old in this energetic, poetic, violent and extremely funny ride, which comes within a belly laugh or two of equaling Crumley's absolute masterpiece, The Last Good Kiss (1978). "The rumors of my near demise haven't been exaggerated," Milo says, "but unfortunately for my enemies, I'm not dead yet." After finally collecting his long-deferred family inheritance (plus a huge cache of loot from the bad guys) in Bordersnakes (1996), the author's previous novel, he seems ready to settle down in Texas, the state with "more handguns than cows." He has a woman he may love, and now owns a bar. Milo, however, just can't let go of investigative work. As he tracks down a wandering wife whose implants have made her the pool-playing terror of many roadhouse, he is on the scene as a gigantic black man named Enos Walker tears into a dive and kills a drug dealer. When Milo asks a couple of questions about Walker, bullets start coming his way, sending him on a cocaine-and alcohol fueled trip for answers that may be 20 years old, hidden behind deception and sex and death, going from Texas to Las Vegas and Montana. Plot twists and details seem loose and easy, yet every thread is sewn tight as a hardball. This is a brilliant achievement, with Crumley returned to his full powers, seeming to say with each assured sentence, Yeah, I'm an old dog, but I still wag the baddest bone. (Oct. 23).
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Final is a permanent state of mind. July 17 2004
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile but depressing read March 3 2004
By Larry
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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3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me Sept. 5 2003
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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2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to be proud of April 10 2002
There was a time when I thought James Crumley would become the greatest writer the mystery genre ever produced, and achieve what Chandler only attained after his death, that is, literary respectability and recognition of his talents as a great novelist of contemporary fiction. Crumley had all the gifts a great writer needs - an engaging prose style, finely constructed plotting and a unique voice. And in his earlier book, The Last Good Kiss, he spun all those elements into a story that was intoxicating in it's brillance, a book truly worthy of comparison to the best of Chandler. But thats been more than 20 years ago now and Crumley has neither continued or built upon his earlier promise of greatness. Sure, he can still write a line so good so as to make your heart skip a beat, and he can be funny as hell, but it's in fits and starts and nothing ever comes of it all. Somewhere, somehow ,the discipline that could craft a book such as the Last Good Kiss has gone and we are left with the spectacle of a now undiciplined talent repeating himself to a lesser and lesser effect each time. If you want to read the real Crumley, read The Last Good Kiss or The Wrong Case and see what you've been missing, but don't read The Final Country - it just makes those of us who admired his earlier work sad.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars a uneven effort; surely not Crumley's best?
'The Final Country' is my first novel by James Crumley. Since it is an award-winning mystery, complete with accolades from amazon. Read more
Published on April 18 2004 by lazza
5.0 out of 5 stars Believe it: The legend lives and he's on his game!
Ask most of the young crime writers in America who they revere and the name Crumley will fall off almost every tongue. Read more
Published on Feb. 5 2002
5.0 out of 5 stars Bottom Of the Barrel
Here we have a story of bottom dwellers looking into the affairs of folks somehow even lower that they are. Not a pretty sight! But, what an enjoyable one. Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2002 by "frnick"
3.0 out of 5 stars Crumley Coasts on His Reputation
Way back in the 1970s, James Crumley wrote "The Wrong Case" and "The Last Good Kiss," two of the finest detective fiction novels ever released. Read more
Published on Jan. 3 2002 by Brian D. Rubendall
3.0 out of 5 stars Hangover
Crumley's hero Milo can out drink, drug and fornicate others decades younger. A story too long, with too many names and a "drawing room" conclusion that ends with a not... Read more
Published on Dec 20 2001 by John Bowes
3.0 out of 5 stars A book of thirds
I enjoyed chapters 1-4 as the writing style was similar to Dancing Bear. Crumley did a fine job of aging Milo and exposing his silly vanities, which culminate in the canyon fight... Read more
Published on Dec 12 2001 by Mike Weinshelbaum
1.0 out of 5 stars Another Texas Bashing Misanthrope
This book, The Final Country, is perhaps the best (worst?) example of gratuitous violence and trite dialogue that was ever dreamed up. Read more
Published on Dec 7 2001 by
5.0 out of 5 stars Emphasize the HARD in hardboiled.
James Crumley always delivers and this is no exception. Falling somewhere between Jim Thompson and James Ellroy, Crumley creates a dark descent into a chaotic hell. Read more
Published on Nov. 18 2001 by David E. Hintz
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Crumley Masterpiece
Crumley is back (finally!)with another magnificently intricate tale featuring Milo Milodragovich, the crusty, humorous, cynical, superbly violent, but now aging, P.I. Read more
Published on Nov. 7 2001 by genews
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