Another gritty installment in the career of C.W. Sughrue (“shoog as in sugar, rue as in rue the goddamned day”), Crumley’s more than slightly scarred Montana anti-hero private eye, so immersed in the mundane and realistic that he doesn’t have much use for theory. A break-in to a shrink friend’s office and some stolen files sets off an avalanche of lies, more lies and dead bodies. A sense of gloom, vapid hopelessness and violence settles into the valley, everyone increasingly crazed in their own way, and Crumley’s pumped-up hyper-kinetic prose swings through a series of torturing and twisted plot switchbacks from Jackpot and El Paso to the Isle of Skye, discovering along the way that “anybody who doesn’t believe in revenge never lost anything worth having.”

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