Milo Milodragovitch is a private detective in the Pacific Northwest, probably in the post-Vietnam, drug using, clenched fist, promiscuous late '60's and early '70's.
Like C.W.Sughrue in The Last Good Kiss, Milo makes no bones about his lifestyle, frequently strung out on speed and alcohol, taking beatings and giving them, finding sex where and when he can. He takes a case for all the wrong reasons, and then Crumley shows us that he would likely as not have taken the case even if he had known the right reasons. If there were any right reasons.
He falls in love with Helen Duffy and offers to help find her lost brother.
He has the wrong information from the wrong friends. He is disliked by any and all that would help him, misled by clients, aided by winos and criminals, and continually sifts through misinformation, disinformation and lies. But it's tough to ferret out the truth when you're going from one binge to the next.
It's difficult to find something redeeming about Milo except there is a certain nobility in his tenacity. The characters are strong. This is dark mystery and not for the weak of heart. But it is particularly native to America and the American myth of the hardboiled Private Eye. We're talking hardboiled. Vintage Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe.
Good stuff. And life goes on after it's all done. At least for Milo.