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Ross Macdonald's imagination, knowledge of the human psyche, and gift for 20th Century dialogue can probably be summed up best with two words: Literary Genius. His novels are absolutely addictive. I hate to see them end! This one is particularly affecting and mysterious to the last heart-breaking page. It's a masterpiece! But one titillating question remains: Will Lew Archer ever find love?
Ross Macdonald writes quite differently than the other masters of the genre. He gives very little insight into his detective's mind or feelings. The focus is on the other characters, the detective remaining a cypher who reports dispassionately. He seems depressed in a way. The book is very plot-driven. We see what Archer sees as he works through the events of the case. Lacks the humor and warmth of Rex Stout. Closer to Hammet but in a 1960s world. Very enjoyable for fans of detective stories with focus on plot, not personality of the detective. It's the opposite of Grafton or Christie.