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James Crumley was born in Three Rivers, Texas and spent most of his childhood in South Texas. He served three years in the US Army before teaching at University of Texas at El Paso, University of Montana and University of Arkansas. He passed away in 2008. His private eye novels featuring Milo Milodragovitch and C. W. Sughrue are regarded as masterpieces of contemporary crime fiction, praised by Dennis Lehane, Ian Rankin and George Pelecanos. He was awarded the Dashiell Hammett Award for Best Literary Crime Novel and the CWA Silver Dagger Award.
Crumley, the much-revered US author who died in 2006 brought a new vigour to the crime novel and reinterpreted the tropes of Raymond Chandler and Ross McDonald with his disillusioned bruised masculinity and rambling sense of American disconnect. With a new introduction by an admiring Ian Rankin, THE LAST GOOD KISS is Crumley at his best, hardboiled to perfection, cynical, written like a clockwork mechanism where every sentence is quasi-perfect and boasts one of the most memorable opening sentences in the history of crime fiction. When private eye C.W. Sughrue ('as in rue the fucking day'...) catches up with Abraham Trahearne, a runaway writer on a three week binge, he also comes across his alcoholic bulldog in a California bar and the scene is set for a profane journey in search of the landlady's missing daughter that will take him to San Francisco and his own version of hell. Profane, gripping, in the shadow of the horrors of the Vietnam war and paradoxically poetic, a crime novel as fever dream and one for the ages. We can only hope Crumley's other books will soon dutifully follow in new editions. They are classics that should not be allowed to ever go out of print. Maxim Jakubowski's May 2016 Book of the Month.
Milo Milodragovitch is a once-successful divorce lawyer, who now prefers to spend his days drinking and staring out the window. That all changes when Helen Duffy walks into his office and asks him to find her missing brother. Though it's not his usual line of work, Milo agrees to help - he needs the money, and he wants to spend more time with this beautiful woman. But this is far from a routine case, and whispers of a long-past crime haunt Milo's every move . . . 'As sweetly profane a poet as American noir could have asked for' Ian Rankin 'Like James Ellroy, he is a master of American vernacular, turning tough-guy slang into something like poetry' Independent
'The poet laureate of hard-boiled literature, superior even to James Lee Burke in his ability to evoke extreme melancholy, gruesome violence and an acute sense of landscape... Deeply compelling' Guardian Things are never straightforward for private detective C. W. Sughrue. A long-time recovering Vietnam veteran and prone to trouble, he s finally enjoying a slower pace of life. Until, that is, his old friend - psychiatrist William Mackinderick - enlists his help in shadowing some of his patients. Mackinderick suspects one of them may have taken highly confidential files from his office and he s desperate to know who. But soon Sughrue s not tracking them alive but dead, as one after the other they meet a gruesome end. Sughrue thought he d seen it all before but he s been proved wrong madness knows no bounds.
'Crumley writes like an angel on speed' Time Out Clark Air Force Base, the Philippines. 1962. Sergeant Jacob Slag Krummel, wannabe scholar now warrior, is posted to the base to take command of the 721st Communication Security Detachment, perhaps the least committed band of drunken, rebellious and bored soldiers in the US Air Force. With the Vietnam War looming large in their minds, they cannot escape war, fear and the truth about America, overturning the lies they ve been told about their homeland. First published in 1969, this is the debut that launched the career of one of the greatest writers of his generation. Crumley s timeless classic is a stunning exploration of the effects of war, told with his trademark razor-sharp dialogue, dark humour, relentless pace and remarkable set pieces.
'A fantastic road trip...wild, wicked, sweet, painful, courageous, outrageous, and obscene' New York TimesNever the most conventional of private detectives, C. W. Sughrue is called in to solve a far from traditional missing persons case. A beautiful woman has vanished, and Sughrue is set to be the next in a long line of people who have tried to find her: the FBI, her well-connected Republican husband, and most worryingly a group of South American drug dealers. And his only clue is a hollowed-out sculpture of a duck.From Montana to the Mexican border, Sughrue embarks on a wild ride, as he finds himself in and out of trouble and the beds of one or two women. And, as he runs from his memories of Vietnam, he ponders the meaning of loyalty and revenge. This is a journey like no other from the pen of James Crumley, the master of a generation of crime writers.
This complex thriller is so hardboiled it makes Ellroy and Connelly read like Simon and Garfunkel it s good. Very good Time OutSettling and calming down is never easy. Especially not for Milo Milodragovitch. He s set up a bar, and found a woman he thinks he may love, but he can t leave his work as a private investigator behind entirely. When he crosses paths with ex-con Enos Walker, and as the bullets fly, he s launched on to a cocaine- and alcohol-fuelled quest to solve a 20-year-old mystery. It s a journey that will take him racing across Texas, Montana and Mexico, with barely a moment for him or you to catch breath 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 Publishers Weekly
A classic from a legend of American crime writing. Crumley writes like an angel on speed Time Out.Milo Milodragovitch isn t exactly an upstanding citizen. He s more than likely to be drunk, and leaves heartbreak in his wake; five ex-wives to be precise. In fact, his forte is self-destruction (Elmore Leonard). When an elderly lady offers him a handsome fee to satisfy her curiosity he thinks it s an easy job, a quick win. Every Thursday she watches a couple arrive at the same spot at the woods opposite her house, in separate cars. But finding out who they are and what they re doing is far from straightforward and before he knows it Milo is in a world of trouble, complete with machine guns, grenades, and a bag of coke. Never a dull day...
Crumley in scintillating form: an anarchic, savagely violent and brilliantly written lament for a vanishing past Evening StandardJames Crumley is the king of hard-boiled noir, credited with inspiring the next generation of crime writers including Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly and best known for his two private detectives, Milo Milodragovitch and C. W. Sughrue. He brought them together for one wild, pulse-pounding ride. This is that story.Someone shot Sughrue and left him for dead, and someone stole Milo s $3million inheritance. And they re not the kind of men to let it go. They ve joined forces in El Paso and they re set for a wild ride across America. They re out for revenge No one in American crime fiction writes sharper, more authentic dialogue, nor more exciting action, nor, beneath the tough fa ade, has a greater feel for the values and mores that really matter The Times
The Great Wood of Caledon - the historic native forest of Highland Scotland - has a reputation as potent and misleading as the wolves that ruled it. The popular image is of an impassable, sun-snuffing shroud, a Highlandswide jungle infested by wolf, lynx, bear, beaver, wild white cattle, wild boar, and wilder painted men. Jim Crumley shines a light into the darker corners of the Great Wood, to re-evaluate some of the questionable elements of its reputation, and to assess the possibilities of its partial resurrection into something like a national forest. The book threads a path among relict strongholds of native woodland, beginning with a soliloquy by the Fortingall Yew, the one tree in Scotland that can say of the hey-day of the Great Wood 5,000 years ago: 'I was there.' The journey is enriched by vivid wildlife encounters, a passionate and poetic account that binds the slow dereliction of the past to an optimistic future.
In 1743, according to legend, the last wolf in Scotland was killed by a huntsman near Inverness. At the time the extinction of wolves in Scotland was celebrated. But since then deer have multiplied in the Highlands, destroying the vegetation on which an array of wildlife depends and creating a barren, treeless landscape. Gradually it has become clear that the entire eco-system has been thrown out of balance by the elimination of a top predator. Now there are calls for a limited reintroduction of wolves into Scotland as a way of healing the damaged land. The wolf has been the victim of black propaganda since ancient times. By tellers of folk tales and historians alike it has been described as a slayer of babies, a robber of graves, a devourer of battlefield dead. In this passionate polemic, Jim Crumley argues that these stories are pure fiction, a distortion of reality which prevents people from thinking rationally about the huge benefits the presence of wolves could bring to Scotland. Now is the time for myths to be dispelled, and for the wolf to return to its old home in the highlands.