James Crumley is one of the most influential crime writers of the post-Chandler era, and his raw, subversive novels have earned him living legend status. He first introduced readers to C. W. Sughrue ("‘Shoog’ as in sugar. And ‘rue’ as in rue the goddamned day") in his now classic The Last Good Kiss. An ex-army officer turned Montana private eye, Sughrue is as tough and cynical as he is good-hearted and weak-kneed when it comes to women and booze. He’s back to take readers on a bender through small towns, dark bars, and dank hotel rooms in a novel charged with Crumley’s genius for the poetry of violence.
In The Right Madness, Sughrue’s close friend, psychiatrist Will MacKinderick, begs him to track down stolen confidential psychoanalysis files—he suspects one of his patients is the culprit. Going against every last instinct, Sughrue agrees to take on the case—a $20,000 retainer is always hard to resist. And when the suspects start dying of violently unnatural causes, Sughrue—fueled by alcohol, drugs, and lurid sexual entanglements—finds himself struggling to stay ahead of the madness unfolding around him.
Before Pelecanos, Connelly, and Lehane, there was Crumley and, with The Right Madness, he shows us once again how he put the "hard" in "hard-boiled."
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"This is not my kind of job, man," Montana private eye C.W. Sughrue insists when his psychiatrist pal, Dr. William "Mac" MacKinderick, asks him to find out who surreptitiously duplicated minidisks containing his conversations with seven long-term analysis patients. But, as we soon discover in James Crumley's The Right Madness, this is precisely the sort of investigation toward which C.W. (for Chauncey Wayne) gravitates--filled with violence, sex, despair, and victims at a dime a dozen, not to mention enough booze and illegal drugs to floor a full-grown rhino.
Life hasn't treated Sughrue kindly over the years. Introduced in The Last Good Kiss (1978), this now late-middle-aged, Texas-born redneck and Vietnam vet was left for dead at the end of the Hammett Award-winning The Mexican Tree Duck (1993), and he almost bit it on several more occasions in the revenge fantasy Bordersnakes (1996). As Madness opens, C.W.'s younger lawyer wife, Whitney, has taken new employment in Minneapolis, and he's in serious denial about the consequences of this separation on their marriage. Instead, Sughrue loses himself in MacKinderick's supposedly "easy job"--witnessing a series of gruesome deaths (including the botched hanging of a professor's spouse and an artist's fatal tumble), chasing across the highway-striped West in search of some missing forensic evidence, being physically violated by a "blond giantess from Ukraine," and endeavoring to protect his client's redheaded wife from a couple of licentious FBI agents and her own self-destructive habits. Along the way, MacKinderick's blood-soaked sports car is found on a Washington state Indian reservation, and the doctor is presumed dead. But that only drives Sughrue on harder, as he tries, with help from seductive Butte attorney Claudia Lucchesi, to determine how all the pieces of this puzzle fit together. He's barely more successful at that task than readers will be. But then, Crumley's detective stories have always been stronger on character development, high-caliber action, literary wit, and lyrical exposition than on meticulous plot construction. If you've ever wondered how Hunter S. Thompson might have rewritten Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, The Right Madness provides more than a few clues. Watch out: bad craziness ahead. --J. Kingston PierceAbout the Author:
James Crumley is the author of eleven novels, including one of the most critically acclaimed detective novels, The Last Good Kiss. The Mexican Tree Duck won the Dashiell Hammett Award for Best Literary Crime Novel from the International Association of Crime Writers.
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Book Description Viking. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0670034061. Bookseller Inventory # GHT7735PHMB051016H0256
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Book Description Viking Pr, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2005. Hard Cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. First Edition/First Printing. Very tight, very clean copy, undamaged pages and hard covers, no marks, tears or wear, very tight spine, pages and hard covers. Clean, bright dust jacket, no tears. Bookseller Inventory # 051684
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Book Description Viking, 2005. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition.. New York: Viking . First edition. First printing. Hardbound. New/New, very fine/very fine in all respects. A pristine unread copy, SIGNED BY AUTHOR on title page and dated in March 2005. Comes with protective mylar dust jacket wrapper. The Last Good Kiss, The Mexican Tree Duck and The Right Madness all feature the character C.W. Sughrue, an alcoholic ex-army officer turned private investigator. Crumley said of his two private detectives: "Milo's first impulse is to help you; Sughrue's is to shoot you in the foot." His last novel. The author died in 2008. [c2] 0.0. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # MFMF09