James Crumley is one of the most revered practitioners of post-Chandler crime fiction, praised by the likes of Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly as a major influence. C. W. Sughrue is Crumley's most indelible creation. Now Sughrue is back, in a searing thrill ride of a novel that has the seen-it-all Montana private eye trying to find out which of a small-town shrink's bizarre patients has made off with some highly confidential files. Fast-paced, brutal, melancholy, and ruefully funny, The Right Madness is Crumley at his uncompromising best.
About the Author
James Crumley was born in Three Rivers, Texas, and spent most of his childhood in South Texas. After serving three years in the U.S. Army and completing college degrees in history (BA, Texas College of Arts and Industries) and creative writing (MFA, University of Iowa), he joined the English faculty at the University of Montana at Missoula. He was also a visiting professor at a number of other institutions around the country, including the University of Texas at El Paso, Colorado State University, Reed College, and Carnegie-Mellon. His works include a novel of Vietnam, One to Count Cadence, and seven detective novels: The Wrong Case, The Last Good Kiss, Dancing Bear, The Mexican Tree Duck, Bordersnakes, The Final Country, and The Right Madness. He died in Missoula in 2008.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Right Madness (C.W. Sughrue Series #3) based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Crumley strikes again. One of his last books before his untimely death (his body simply worn out by a lifetime of hard living) but he's still got the ol' fastball. C.W. Sughrue breaks one of his golden rules and takes on a case for an old friend, with tragic results all around. Crumley's shamuses don't tie up all the loose ends and they're sadder and wiser when they complete a case. Some mystery fans may find the sex and drugs and violence too tough for their liking but if you're not reading Crumley, you're missing out on one of the few writers in the field who could out-Chandler Chandler (and that's saying something).
I can't say that I have disliked a book as much as I disliked this one, and it's not because it's a badly written book. Crumley does an excellent job of conveying the madness in his characters, and it nearly made me go mad. I hated that he skipped over huge chunks of facts and then threw them in when it suited his purposes, rather than tell the story in a straightforward way that might make the book easier to follow. He created madness by creating such a confusing mess of a story that only got bleaker as it went along. Perhaps he achieved what he wanted, the right madness, but it was more of a nasty scheme than a novel.
I was intrigued by the critics calling The Right Madness in the tone of Raymond Chandler works, which I love. For me, The Right Madness missed the mark. Yes, there was a lot of drinking and bar scenes, but I don't think the West lends itself to that gritty atmosphere. And even more importantly, the story missed its mark. The ending was less that satisfactory. I didn't care about the characters, and those FBI agents, nope! The plot was just too weak, and sometimes silly, to sustain even a brief 289 pages. Get it as a bargain book and try it for yourself or skip it and read many other superior novels, IMHO.