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The Wrong Case Paperback – Dec 12 1985

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (Dec 12 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394735587
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394735580
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #65,254 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"Crumley is a vivid writer. He makes Milo much more vulnerable, more involved in this sordid case than Hammett or Chandler would have done. It is this kind of style that imprints itself on the reader's memory. . . . An exceptionally good example of the private-eye novel. Crumely writes about damaged people seen through a haze of jaded romanticism." --Newsweek

"An excellent example of new variations within an old genre. Crumley's story is a strong one, and the revelations continue until the last page." --Texas Monthly

"The Wrong Case is in the tradition of the Dashiell Hammett of The Glass Key and does full honor to Hammett. The story is powerful, the writing is high calibre." --Stanley Elkin

"A very good study in fatalism and self-destruction." --Hartford Courant

"If you like your detective fiction tough and tenacious, you will love James Crumley. . . . No one does it better." --Houston Chronicle

From the Inside Flap

Milo once had a thriving divorce-case business in the small town of in the Pacific Northwest, but because of liberal new divorce laws has taken to drinking and staring out the window. He's up to his third drink of the morning when an attractive young woman walks into his office and asks him to find her brother. He takes on what seems a routine missing-person case in hopes of getting to know her better, but finds himself involved in what is most definitely The Wrong Case. Everyone is a victim, one way or another, of a crime that took place long before the novel begins.

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Format: Paperback
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.
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Format: Paperback
This gritty detective mystery has everything a good hardboiled book should have. A beautiful, yet troubled woman who has entered the detective's office looking for help, the down-on-his-luck detective who talks hard and drinks harder, a city that is in the grip of a crime-wave and a cracker of a mystery that builds to a terrific and unexpected ending.
We are introduced to Milo Milodragovitch and his hard-drinking, drug-taking, skirt-chasing ways. Milo's on the edge after two failed marriages, a failing business and a drinking problem. He makes no apologies for any of his bad habits and is prepared to blow off anyone who has a problem with him. The woman who has entered his office steals his heart and asks him to find her brother who has been missing for the past three weeks. It's a case that he doesn't really want to take, but does because, as he freely admits, she is such a stunning woman he'd do anything on the off-chance she might go to bed with him.
If anyone ever wanted to get a taste for modern hardboiled noir fiction, this would be the perfect book to read. I found myself drawn right into the book and could picture the town of Meriwether perfectly and at times I could picture myself occupying a stool at Mahoney's bar, the imagery is so vivid.
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Format: Paperback
The Grateful Dead must have written "Hell in a Bucket" for Milodragovitch, the well-born boy/man who never met expectations. So bright, so charming--what a shame! He's on the skids with booze and drugs, but going down gracefully. Milo is a private eye who just got legislated out of business. The divorce laws have been eased. It used to be adultery and insanity were the only grounds for divorce in his state (Washington? Montana?), which gave him a steady supply of clients trying to nail an errant spouse. Now all it takes is "irreconcilable differences" to win a decree, and who needs a private eye for that?
The standard gorgeous lady comes to his office with a tearful request as he is consuming his lunch of raspberry yogurt and "office whiskey." Her brother OD'd on drugs and has been declared a suicide. She vehemently insists he was murdered. Her description of her sensitive, academic gentle brother does not jibe with Milo's recollection of the cold-eyed loser he had seen about town, but he has fallen in love--instantly. He assembles his troop of bums, eccentrics and low livers to assist him in investigating the crime. He discovers layer after layer of corruption and rampant drug dealing in his supposedly peaceful town of Meriwether that his great grandfather founded. He is neither surprised nor dismayed.
This is a novel beyond noir; it is a novel of despair. Like Hunter Thompson's hero in "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas," Milo is destroying himself with clarity and precision. The book is witty, humorous and lyrically written. The action is intense and explosive. But the undercurrents are always there, gray and dark.
Brilliantly written and highly readable, put this book on your "must read" list. You won't regret it.
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Format: Paperback
Take it from the title, "The Wrong Case," is not a happy story. In fact, private detective fiction seldom gets more hardboiled or as down and dirty as this one. Crumley's "hero," the recently unemployed private snoop Milo, is a man shattered by a terrible upbringing and by alcohol. But despite his cynical and distrustful nature, he takes a case he knows will be a loser in a last ditch effort to both redeem himself and to find love. The results are about what you would expect.
Milo is a completely different character than Crumley's other private detective hero C.W. Sughrue, the party animal star of "The Last God Kiss" among others. Milo has been scarred far deeper by life and fully expects to lose himself to his addictions at some point. His best friends are homeless winos with one foot firmly planted in their graves. Brooding, violent and with a perfectly shocking ending, "The Wrong Case" is one of THE great hardboiled detective novels.
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