The Last Good Kiss Paperback – Nov 5 1988
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"The last good mystery." —Rolling Stone
"James Crumley is a first-rate American writer.... pyrotechnically entertaining, sexy, compassionate." —The Village Voice
"What Raymond chandler did for the Los Angeles of the Thirties, James Crumley does for the roadside West of today." —Harper's
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An unforgettable detective story starring C.W. Sughrue, a Montana investigator who kills time by working at a topless bar.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
How anyone can compare this writer to James Ellroy is beyond me. Yes, there's some superficially grim subject matter in The Last Good Kiss, but Ellroy, unlike Crumley, digs into his stories' evil in a relentlessly true and honest way. Further, where Ellroy's writing sings and bops, Crumley's is pedestrian. Perhaps sleazy subject matter was shocking in the '70s, but it sure isn't now. The whole '70s on-the-road shtick gets old fast, too. The bulldog was the best thing about this book.
If you want to read fine crime writing that's grim, true, and well written, try Ellroy's The Big Nowhere and the rest of his L.A. Quartet, or anything by Dennis Lehane.
The novel borders on the hard boiled and is often very cynical as C.W. searches for the well known writer and alcoholic Abraham Trahearne. C.W. catches up with him in a down and out bar in the company of a beer lapping bulldog. After that sweet meeting they join forces and search for the bar owner's missing daughter of ten years.
The first half of the book keeps one on edge, then there's a lull before things get going again, but it's not as good as the beginning. I got the feeling the writer was running out of steam, whereby the writing is not quite as strong, nor the action as believable.
I did not care much for the ending, far too cynical for my taste. It needn't have been that way, but then I'm not the author.
That's my crit, and perhaps it sounds bad, but the book on the whole is definitely up there among America's best. I will read more by this author who demonstrates that mystery novels can reach the heights of literature.
C.W. Sughrue, a Montana P.I., is hired to track down a drunken writer. He finds his man, but along the way Sughrue takes another case, a case he knows will lead to nothing good. His job is to find a girl who ran away from home many, many years ago. The hunt for the girl leads Sughrue through a parade of despicable degenerates with no redeeming qualities.
It can be a hard novel to read and a difficult one to forget. In Sughrue, Crumley has created a detective who lives in a broken world, hoping that there might just be one good thing on the horizon, one good reason to live, one good thing to believe in. The settings, characters, tone...it all works, establishing the novel as one of the greats in the hard-boiled mystery genre. But again, if you are looking for a nice, cozy mystery to curl up with for a relaxing evening, this is not for you. Definitely not for kids.
244 hard-boiled pages
Most recent customer reviews
I bought this book some years ago because I liked the picture of the bulldog on the cover. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. C.W. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2002 by Cindy
The story begins with private detective C.W. Sughrue tracking down poet and author Abraham Trahearne, who has taken off on a drinking binge. Read morePublished on Sept. 1 2002 by Untouchable
Gardner Dozois recommended James Crumley's The Last Good Kiss to me as the best hard-boiled detective novel written in the last ten years. Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2002 by Glen Engel Cox
The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley is a book that will stay with me for a long time. The editorial review says that Last Good Kiss is "unforgettable" and it is. Read morePublished on July 15 2002 by Rafik
This is an excellent mystery novel. If you taught a University level course on the mystery-noir, this would follow Hammett and Chandler and precede James Lee Burke and George... Read morePublished on June 28 2002 by Larry Scantlebury
After reading the glowing reviews, I thought I would be in for a mesmerizing journey. Sorry to say, I would only classify it as meandering. Read morePublished on May 5 2002 by Frank Green
This is the first book by James Crumley that I have read. Believe me I plan to read others. After each reading of
Crumley's book I felt I needed to take a shower. Read more
This is the best mystery novel I have ever read. Absolutly. No question. If you like Hammet, Chandler, or Ellroy you won't go wrong reading this terrific book.Published on Oct. 16 2001 by David H Massie
Never having read raymond chandler I can't comment on comparisons to him, but I was blown away by this book. Read morePublished on Aug. 22 2001 by James C. Dascoli