Murder Is Our Peculiar Pastime: Fifty Notable American Crime Novels: 15-16


Crumley, James.  The Last Good Kiss.  New York: Random House, 1978.

Like the novelist Robert Stone, James Crumley has synthesized the conventions of the hardboiled tradition with elements of counterculture fiction.  In his mystery-detective novels, he has alternated between two Montana detectives, C. W. Sughrue and Milo Milodragovitch, though the two detectives join forces in Bordersnakes (1996).  Reprobates who consume incredible quantities of alcohol and drugs, the two detectives nonetheless have a moral core that they refuse to compromise.  Their misadventures take them across the entire breadth of the American West, from the Canadian to the Mexican borders and from the Great Plains to the Pacific coast.  The places that they visit and the people that they encounter along the way coalesce into a contemporary Western milieu every bit as vivid and as distinctive as Raymond Chandler’s mid-century Los Angeles.

The Last Good Kiss is Crumley’s third novel, his…

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