Friday, August 21, 2009

Ross Macdonald

Over the last week I have read 'The Barbarous Coast' by Ross Macdonald. An incredible read, I couldn't put it down honestly. I haven't been reading that much crime fiction lately but this guy just comes at you like a blast. Deeper and more psychological than the original hard boiled writers such as Chandler or Hammet - this is what I've been told because I was no expert but it didn't take me long to realise because along with the macho tough guy narratives you get dream sequences such as the following:

"Hollywood started as a meaningless dream, invented for money. But its colors ran, out through the holes in people's heads, spread across the landscape and solidified. North and south along the coast, east across the continent. Now we were stuck with the dream without a meaning. It had become the nightmare that we lived in. Deep thoughts."


All that whilst he had been knocked out by the bad guys and things were about the get worse on what started as a rollercoaster ride and ended up almost flying through space.

Archer the main character has a deeper side to him and in a later passage he gives the following pep talk, (trying to persuade the sister of a victim that she doesn't have to do all the things the bad guys tell her to do) which convinces me to take Las Vegas off my list of places to go:

[The girl says 'they made me feel like life was not worth living'] "That's the way the jerks want you to feel. If everybody felt like a zombie, we'd all be on the same level. And the jerks could get away with the things jerks want to get away with. They're not, though. Jerkiness isn't as respectable as it used to be, not even in L.A.. Which is why they had to build Vegas."


This is one of the best maybe the best book I have read all year. This definitely deserves the title - book of note.

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