The Right Madness by James Crumley

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James Crumley is one of the most influential crime writers of the post-Chandler era, and his raw, subversive novels have earned him living legend status. He first introduced readers to C. W. Sughrue ("‘Shoog’ as in sugar. And ‘rue’ as in rue the goddamned day") in his now classic The Last Good Kiss. An ex-army officer turned Montana private eye, Sughrue is as tough and cynical as he is good-hearted and weak-kneed when it comes to women and booze. He’s back to take readers on a bender through small towns, dark bars, and dank hotel rooms in a novel charged with Crumley’s genius for the poetry of violence.

In The Right Madness, Sughrue’s close friend, psychiatrist Will MacKinderick, begs him to track down stolen confidential psychoanalysis files—he suspects one of his patients is the culprit. Going against every last instinct, Sughrue agrees to take on the case—a $20,000 retainer is always hard to resist. And when the suspects start dying of violently unnatural causes, Sughrue—fueled by alcohol, drugs, and lurid sexual entanglements—finds himself struggling to stay ahead of the madness unfolding around him.

Before Pelecanos, Connelly, and Lehane, there was Crumley and, with The Right Madness, he shows us once again how he put the "hard" in "hard-boiled."


About James Crumley

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James Crumley is the author of eleven novels, including the highly acclaimed The Last Good Kiss. His The Mexican Tree Duck won the Dashiell Hammett Award for Best Literary Crime Novel from the International Association of Crime Writers.
Published August 29, 2006 by Penguin Books. 304 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Crime. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Right Madness

Kirkus Reviews

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As it turns out, this gig turns into an equally booze-drenched, drug fueled, sex-propelled exercise, during which Sughrue gets to beat up and blow away diverse members of the species he views so dimly, and at whose end the reader will be hard pressed to unknot a cat’s cradle of plot lines.

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The New York Times

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In his classic 1976 romp, ''I Hear America Swinging,'' Peter De Vries conjured an Iowa whose rustic farmers had taken to affecting mint-flavored toothpicks, dipping into Ecclesiastes for its sheer aphoristic style and sipping vermouth cassis while making brittle conversation along the lines of, '...

May 08 2005 | Read Full Review of The Right Madness

Publishers Weekly

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Cigarettes, whiskey and cocaine all return to Sughrue's menu as one patient after another dies a gruesome death, and the reasons for the murders becomes less and less apparent.

Apr 11 2005 | Read Full Review of The Right Madness

Reviewing the Evidence

But no one who knows Mac believes he took his own life: not Sughrue, not Mac's new, young unbalanced wife, and not Mac's four other ex wives -- another fact that Sughrue didn't have a clue about.

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Reviewing the Evidence

I never start a James Crumley book late in the afternoon because I know if I do I'll never get any sleep.

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California Literary Review

In fact, this one is so well done that parts of it remind me of a mystery he wrote years ago called The Last Good Kiss, an effort so overwhelmingly well-constructed that it is considered by many including myself to be one of the finest novels ever written regardless of genre.

Apr 24 2007 | Read Full Review of The Right Madness

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