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THE CHILL, or the author Ross Macdonald was recommended to me as a good entree to the "hard boiled" detective novel. The book was written I think a good fifty years ago, so there is a moment of adjusting to that stylistic time. Well worth it though since a tight, yet complex story emerges in the gritty underbelly of a time when California was a blossom. If this isn't doesn't catch your interest, pass--but if you've wanted to know the origins of our favorite detectives you will be entertained.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Ross Macdonald might write Chandleresque noir as good or better than Chandler. Some of the lines from 'The Chill' were so sharp they could cut a day into dark chocolate, bite-sized hours. 'The Chill' had a pretty good twist at the end. The only downside to the novel was it almost needed an overcoat with extra pockets for all the characters. By the end, I needed a small pocket book to keep all femme fatales and dead women straight.
Like most Macdonald novels, the dénouement of 'the Chill' seems to snake into your pants, squirm and bite you before you are quite ready for the book to end. That is one thing about Macdonald: he ties up ALL the snakes at the end.
There is a popular trope (often attributed to Brian Eno) that the Velvet Underground's first album only sold 30,000 copies during its first five years but that “everyone who bought one of those 30,000 copies started a band.” I think the same thing can be said about Macdonald. He was one of those writers who probably sold less than his talent deserved, but whose influence on the modern-day detective novel is practically unsurpassed. He was a writer's writer, the professor of pulp, the high king of hard-boiled, the prophet of classic myths retold as California crime fiction. He was a god and you bet you ass every single word was a sacred creation.
14 of 20 people found this review helpful