"Une course après l'argent et la vengeance m'avait amené au Texas, et une femme, Betty Porterfield, m'y avait fait rester." Mais Milo, désormais propriétaire d'un bar et de quelques cheveux blancs, demeure un incorrigible agité, incapable de se contenter d'une vie prévisible. De toute façon, un homme marié cinq fois ne peut pas être un modèle de stabilité. Milo reprend donc une licence de détective privé et, très vite, est témoin du meurtre d'une ordure notoire. Au lieu de se mêler de ses affaires, il décide de retrouver avant tout le monde l'assassin, lui-même fort peu recommandable, pour lui épargner une mort certaine. Bien sûr, Milo se doute qu'il va au-devant d'énormément d'ennuis, mais en fait, il aime bien ça, et quand on a un grand coeur...
Le privé C.W. Sughrue a de gros soucis d'argent. Son vieil ami Solly, un avocat toxico, lui dégote alors une mission insolite : récupérer des poissons tropicaux rares auprès d'un mauvais payeur, le chef d'un gang de bikers connu sous le nom de Norman l'Anormal. Après une confrontation musclée à coups de mitrailleuse, l'affaire prend un tour inat- tendu, et Norman engage Sughrue pour rechercher sa mère, kidnappée par son mari. C'est le début d'une course effrénée qui mènera Sughrue des montagnes du Montana aux immensités désertiques du Nouveau-Mexique.
L'ancien privé Milo Milodragovitch s'est assagi. Son job paisible d'agent de sécurité à Meriwether, Montana, lui permet d'attendre patiemment l'héritage parental prévu pour le jour de ses cinquante-deux ans. Mais une riche vieille dame, autrefois maîtresse de son père, vient remuer de vieux souvenirs et lui confier une enquête à la fois facile et lucrative. Milo saute sur l'occasion. Bien sûr, la prétendue mission de routine se met à exploser en tous sens et se transforme sans tarder en une course frénétique entre voitures en feu, lancers de grenades, tirs de mitrailleuses et rails de cocaïne.
À la demande de son ex-épouse, le privé C.W. Sughrue se lance sur la piste d'un romancier en cavale. Il le retrouve sans trop d'efforts dans un bar décati de Californie, où l'écrivain se soûle à la bière, un bulldog alcoolique à ses pieds. Consciente de sa chance, la barmaid le charge d'une nouvelle enquête : retrouver sa fille Betty Sue qui s'est volatilisée dix ans auparavant. Sughrue a envie d'un peu de compagnie, il embarque donc romancier et bulldog dans son périple. Sans prévoir sa fascination grandissante pour la disparue ni les ramifications sans fin de cette affaire où tous semblent se jouer de lui.
Dans la tranquille petite ville de Meriwether, Montana, le privé Milo Milodragovitch est sur le point de se retrouver au chômage technique. Ne lui reste qu'à s'adonner à son activité favorite, boire. S'imbiber méthodiquement, copieusement, pour éloigner le souvenir cuisant de ses propres mariages ratés, de la décadence de sa famille, de son héritage qui restera bloqué jusqu'à ses cinquante-trois ans - ainsi en a décidé sa mère. C'est alors que la jeune et très belle Helen Duffy pousse sa porte : son petit frère, un jeune homme bien sous tous rapports, n'a plus donné signe de vie depuis plusieurs semaines. Milo s'engage alors sur une piste très glissante.
Cela fait des années que Milo a arrêté de boire, et le moins que l'on puisse dire, c'est que ça ne lui a pas réussi. Dépos- sédé de son héritage par un escroc, il finit par débusquer son vieux pote Sughrue au fin fond du Texas. Le plan est simple : à eux deux, ils vont mettre à profit leur expérience d'enquêteurs peu conventionnels pour retrouver l'escroc et rendre une justice exemplaire. Accessoirement, Milo entend "arrêter d'arrêter" les substances déconseillées pour la santé. Mais Sughrue a lui aussi quelque chose à demander. Toujours incontrôlable, il s'est mis à dos une bande sacrément dange- reuse, les "serpents de la frontière". Des serpents connus pour ne pas faire de quartier. Sauf que Sughrue n'a pas le sens de la mesure, et puisque Milo est là...
'As sweetly profane a poet as American noir could have asked for' Ian Rankin'A friggin' masterpiece' Dennis Lehane'The stunner that reinvigorated the genre and jacked up a generation of future crime novelists' George PelecanosMeet Private Detective C. W. Sughrue. Private detectives are supposed to find missing persons and solve crimes. But more often than not Sughrue is the one committing the crimes - everything from grand theft auto to criminal stupidity. All washed down with a hearty dose of whiskey and regret.At the end of a three-week hunt for a runaway bestselling author, Sughrue winds up in a ramshackle bar, with an alcoholic bulldog. The landlady's daughter vanished a decade ago and now she wants Sughrue to find her. His search will take him to the deepest, darkest depths of San Francisco's underbelly, a place as fascinating, frightening and flawed as he is. Welcome to James Crumley's America.
Milo Milodragovitch is a once-successful divorce lawyer, who now prefers to spend his days drinking and staring out the window. That all changes when Helen Duffy walks into his office and asks him to find her missing brother.Though it's not his usual line of work, Milo agrees to help - he needs the money, and he wants to spend more time with this beautiful woman. But this is far from a routine case, and whispers of a long-past crime haunt Milo's every move . . .'As sweetly profane a poet as American noir could have asked for' Ian Rankin'Like James Ellroy, he is a master of American vernacular, turning tough-guy slang into something like poetry' Independent
'The poet laureate of hard-boiled literature, superior even to James Lee Burke in his ability to evoke extreme melancholy, gruesome violence and an acute sense of landscape... Deeply compelling' Guardian Things are never straightforward for private detective C. W. Sughrue. A long-time recovering Vietnam veteran and prone to trouble, he's finally enjoying a slower pace of life. Until, that is, his old friend - psychiatrist William Mackinderick - enlists his help in shadowing some of his patients. Mackinderick suspects one of them may have taken highly confidential files from his office and he's desperate to know who. But soon Sughrue's not tracking them alive but dead, as one after the other they meet a gruesome end. Sughrue thought he'd seen it all before but he's been proved wrong...madness knows no bounds.
'Crumley writes like an angel on speed' Time Out Clark Air Force Base, the Philippines. 1962. Sergeant Jacob 'Slag' Krummel, wannabe scholar now warrior, is posted to the base to take command of the 721st Communication Security Detachment, perhaps the least committed band of drunken, rebellious and bored soldiers in the US Air Force. With the Vietnam War looming large in their minds, they cannot escape war, fear and the truth about America, overturning the lies they've been told about their homeland. First published in 1969, this is the debut that launched the career of one of the greatest writers of his generation. Crumley's timeless classic is a stunning exploration of the effects of war, told with his trademark razor-sharp dialogue, dark humour, relentless pace and remarkable set pieces.
'A fantastic road trip...wild, wicked, sweet, painful, courageous, outrageous, and obscene' New York TimesNever the most conventional of private detectives, C. W. Sughrue is called in to solve a far from traditional missing persons case. A beautiful woman has vanished, and Sughrue is set to be the next in a long line of people who have tried to find her: the FBI, her well-connected Republican husband, and - most worryingly - a group of South American drug dealers. And his only clue is a hollowed-out sculpture of a duck.From Montana to the Mexican border, Sughrue embarks on a wild ride, as he finds himself in and out of trouble - and the beds of one or two women. And, as he runs from his memories of Vietnam, he ponders the meaning of loyalty and revenge. This is a journey like no other from the pen of James Crumley, the master of a generation of crime writers.
'This complex thriller is so hardboiled it makes Ellroy and Connelly read like Simon and Garfunkel... it's good. Very good' Time OutSettling - and calming - down is never easy. Especially not for Milo Milodragovitch. He's set up a bar, and found a woman he thinks he may love, but he can't leave his work as a private investigator behind entirely. When he crosses paths with ex-con Enos Walker, and as the bullets fly, he's launched on to a cocaine- and alcohol-fuelled quest to solve a 20-year-old mystery. It's a journey that will take him racing across Texas, Montana and Mexico, with barely a moment for him - or you - to catch breath...'A brilliant achievement, with Crumley returned to his full powers, seeming to say with each assured sentence, 'Yeah, I'm an old dog, but I still wag the baddest bone'' Publishers Weekly
A classic from a legend of American crime writing. 'Crumley writes like an angel on speed' Time Out.Milo Milodragovitch isn't exactly an upstanding citizen. He's more than likely to be drunk, and leaves heartbreak in his wake; five ex-wives to be precise. In fact, 'his forte is self-destruction' (Elmore Leonard). When an elderly lady offers him a handsome fee to satisfy her curiosity he thinks it's an easy job, a quick win. Every Thursday she watches a couple arrive at the same spot at the woods opposite her house, in separate cars. But finding out who they are and what they're doing is far from straightforward and before he knows it Milo is in a world of trouble, complete with machine guns, grenades, and a bag of coke. Never a dull day...
'Crumley in scintillating form: an anarchic, savagely violent and brilliantly written lament for a vanishing past' Evening StandardJames Crumley is the king of hard-boiled noir, credited with inspiring the next generation of crime writers - including Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly - and best known for his two private detectives, Milo Milodragovitch and C. W. Sughrue. He brought them together for one wild, pulse-pounding ride. This is that story.Someone shot Sughrue and left him for dead, and someone stole Milo's $3million inheritance. And they're not the kind of men to let it go. They've joined forces in El Paso and they're set for a wild ride across America. They're out for revenge...'No one in American crime fiction writes sharper, more authentic dialogue, nor more exciting action, nor, beneath the tough façade, has a greater feel for the values and mores that really matter' The Times
Milo once had a thriving divorce-case business in the small town of in the Pacific Northwest, but because of liberal new divorce laws he has taken to drinking and staring out the window. He's up to his third drink of the morning when an attractive young woman walks into his office and asks him to find her brother. He takes on what seems a routine missing-person case in hopes of getting to know her better, but finds himself involved in what is most definitely the wrong case. Everyone is a victim, one way or another, of a crime that took place long before the novel begins.
Detective Milo Dragovitch spends too much time boozing until he gets caught up in a case involving two-bit criminals and an old lady on the run.
His friends call him Milo. No one has ever called him Bud except his father, long dead, and now Sarah Weddington, stirring painful memoires and offering him his first case since he abandoned his private practice and took a job marking time on the night shift for Haliburton Security. The case seems almost too easy, hardly worth the large fee, just to satisfy this old woman's curiosity. But things are soon exploding all over the place and Milo is turning up grenades, machine guns, a kilo of marijuana and a bag of coke . . . and suddenly Milo is on the run.
Tough, hard-boiled, and brilliantly suspenseful, The Last Good Kiss is an unforgettable detective story starring C. W. Sughrue, a Montana investigator who kills time by working at a topless bar. Hired to track down a derelict author, he ends up on the trail of a girl missing in Haight-Ashbury for a decade. The tense hunt becomes obsessive as Sughrue takes a haunting journey through the underbelly of America's sleaziest nightmares.
The time: late summer, 1962. The place: Clark Air Force Base, the Philippines. Sergeant Jacob "Slag" Krummel, a scholar by intent but a warrior by breeding, assumes command of the 721st Communication Security Deteachment, an unsoldierly crew of bored, rebellious, whoring, foul-mouthed, drunken enlistees. Surviving military absurdities reminiscent of those in Catch-22 only to be shipped clandestinely to Vietnam, Krummel's band confront their worst fears while finally losing faith in America and its myths.
Powerful, scathingly funny, and eloquent, One to Count Cadence is a triumphant novel about manhood, anger, war, and lies.
A NEW YORK TIMES Notable Book
It's business as usual for Milo Milodragovitch, watching a relationship go sour and running a bar whose real business is cleaning some dirty money, until he gets sent off to hunt a drug dealer’s killer. Prodded by the twin motivations of his prickly conscience and his tight finances, Milo sets off on a trip to find the promised land. The end of the road will be where he first began: Montana, where a beautiful woman, a dangerous man, and a motherlode of truth are waiting for their favorite son to come home--bringing with him a gun, a plan, and a prayer.
C.W. Sughrue has been gut-shot and left to die and is, for the first time in his life, actually scared--which makes him angry. Milo Milodragovitch has been robbed of his three-million dollar inheritance by a pipsqueak banker and a butch lady poet; he’s not scared at all, just pissed. In a spiffy suit and a red Cadillac, Milo trails his thieves to the Mexican border, where the community consists of “three kinds of drug smugglers, six different breeds of law dogs, and every kind of criminal ever dreamed up”--that is, bordersnakes. When Milo and Sughrue cross paths, they head off together on a dope-smoking, trash-talking, hard-drinking, blood-spattering roadtrip across the West.
WINNER OF THE DASHIELL HAMMETT AWARD
One night up in Montana, C.W. Sughrue sets his seedy bar’s pricey jukebox in front of an oncoming freight train. When predictable results ensue, he needs to find a way to make some money and pay back the jukebox company. So even though Sughrue’s officially retired from P.I. work, he picks up one small-time case involving some kidnapped fish. That fishy trail leads to a much bigger case involving a Texas politician's kidnapped wife, a valuable piece of pre-Columbian pottery, and a single mother who packs guns and stolen goods in her infant son's diaper bag.