THE LAST GOOD KISS by James Crumley


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This is talented James Crumley's least impressive work yet, exhibiting his established knack for Ross-Macdonald-ish bite and dour toughness but lumbered with an off-the-wail plot, sluggish pacing, and an unconscionably smug narrator-sleuth: hard-drinking Sughrue, whose combination of college-educated irony and country-boy brutality is sensationally unattractive. Hired to bring home poet-drunk-rover A. Trahearne, Sughrue ends up in a California bar, where the barmaid persuades him to look for her long-missing daughter Betty Sue. Noble Sughrue does so and learns that Betty Sue (onetime porno actress and hooker) is dead; then a postcard arrives from Betty Sue herself. The explanation--which links Betty Sue to red-herring Trahearne and leads to a last-minute murder--will have most readers roiling their eyeballs; but by the time it surfaces, as with some Macdonald denouements, you may have been won over by the arid, boozy locales (all over the Western and Mountain time zones), the curled-lip repartee, and the overall moodiness.

Pub Date: Oct. 2nd, 1978
Publisher: Random House