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The Right Madness


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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.


At the start of Crumley's brilliant new hard-boiled detective novel, Montana PI C.W. Sughrue (introduced in the author's 1978 crime classic, The Last Good Kiss) is relaxing in a hot tub with his old buddy, psychiatrist William MacKinderick. Their team has just won the state championship in the over 50 softball league. Sughrue, whose body bears "more scars than a practice corpse," has even quit smoking. But when MacKinderick hires him to shadow some of his patients to see who may have taken personal files from his office, his old wild urges come roaring back. "I wanted another cigarette. So badly I couldn't remember why I had quit." Cigarettes, whiskey and cocaine all return to Sughrue's menu as one patient after another dies a gruesome death, and the reasons for the murders becomes less and less apparent. Soon Sughrue can threaten a bad guy with the warning, "I've got a hangover that would kill a normal man." Crumley shows his usual deft touch with poetic language (a shady lawyer boasts "a smile as innocent as the first martini") and humor ("I'm a private investigator, sir; I leave the blackmail to the lawyers"). The themes of nightmarish madness, betrayal and survival will glue readers to the page. Crumley remains one of the finest writers in the Raymond Chandler tradition. Agent, Owen Laster at William Morris. 4-city author tour. (May 9) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Do yourself a favor and read it tonight. Nothing you could do with your clothes on will be as pleasurable. (Otto Penzler, The New York Sun)

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