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Ross Macdonald definitely dances down the same literary streets as Hammett and Chandler. This hardboiled detective novel, the 8th in the Lew Archer series, feels like it was written in one continuous sitting (that is a good thing).
'The Galton Case' has a naked narrative intensity that is well-supported by its witty dialogue and California Noir setting. Macdonald is one of those authors who is so spare and bare that it is hard NOT to be impressed by the clean, minimalist architecture of his writing. If Proust was edited by Hemingway, liked bad girls (well OK, sometimes Proust liked bad girls) and wrote hardboiled novels, he'd be Ross Macdonald.
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This fascinating Lew Archer adventure features intriguing characterizations, compelling mystery, and our hero's usual mixture of intelligence, sardonic wit, and compassion. The story really does keep the reader guessing up to the very end. However, the denouement is rather muddled, so contrived as to seem forced, and actually somewhat implausible. As you may correctly conclude, I found the ending unsatisfying and disappointing...in its telling. This is too bad because I am a huge fan of Ross Macdonald's intrepid and relentless private detective Lewis Archer. I hope I have better luck with THE BLUE HAMMER. By the way, Grover Gardner's reading was superb!