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The Mexican Tree Duck (C.W. Sughrue #2)

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  603 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Ex-private eye C.W. Sughrue has been depressed, jobless and living in the basement of a morgue, but now a job has come up. He sets off on an odyssey of liquor, sex and gunplay to find a missing woman who has eluded the FBI and cocaine dealers.
Paperback, 260 pages
Published October 1st 1994 by Mysterious Press (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jeff
Sep 01, 2016 Jeff rated it really liked it
Shelves: who-done-it
Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll Hank Snow!

Plus an all-consuming hatred for authority and enough guns and ammo for a small army.

The book opens with a jukebox dumped in front of an oncoming train, blaring some crappy “80’s tune (It’s not mentioned which one, but I’m assuming it falls under the Boy George/Wham/Rick Astley umbrella). What follows is drinking, depression and money problems. Down and out in Montana! There’s no place to go but to take a job recovering tropical fish from the local biker
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
May 03, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hardboiled
”It wasn’t a party that a Republican could understand--the marijuana smoke sweet on the air, the occasional cocaine sniffle, cold Mexican beer, good food, great conversation, and laughter--but a Parisian deconstructionist scholar might find it about as civilized as America gets. Or at least the one I met, who was visiting at UTEP, maintained. Somewhere along the way, he claimed, Americans had forgotten how to have a good time. In the name of good health, good taste, and political correctness fro ...more
Dan Schwent
Dec 27, 2012 Dan Schwent rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When a biker buddy hires him to find his birth mother, Sughrue takes the case, only to find himself ensnared in a web of drugs, sex, drugs, likes, drugs, murder, and a baby named Lester. Sughrue puts together a band of his misfit war buddies and goes on the hunt. But every damn person he talks to is lying to him...

If Raymond Chandler and Hunter S. Thompson were able to mate successfully, their offspring would be a lot like James Crumley. His books read like Dr. Gonzo pretending to be Philip Marl
...more
Kemper
Nov 07, 2012 Kemper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C.W. Sughrue isn’t your typical private detective. He considers the holy trinity of the 20th century to be cash, drugs and firepower, and he uses huge amounts of all three to work his cases. A Vietnam veteran who ping pongs between paranoia, sentimentality, anger and depression, Sughrue scares even his craziest friends sometimes. And he knows a lot of crazy people.

Things have been slow in the private detective game in Montana. Sughrue has been trying to run a bar, but when the responsibility of
...more
Bill  Kerwin

For somebody who loved "The Last Good Kiss," I found this a disappointing novel--rambling, discursive and out of control. Because Crumley is still a helluva writer, many of the set-pieces--like the marvelous beginning--are wonderful. But, all taken together, they do not add up to a book.
Cathy DuPont
Jan 23, 2015 Cathy DuPont rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Okay, okay, okay. It was almost a solid four star.

This was another great read by James Crumley, a mystery series starring C. W. Sughrue, P. I.

Crumley published his first book on Vietnam in 1969. He wrote for more than four decades beginning in 1969 and ending in 2005. His style is colorful and clear with wonderful descriptions of the west. Sughrue travels around the countryside, the western United States, like he owns every parcel.

The only reason I fussed with the three vs four for this book,
...more
Tfitoby
Jun 25, 2015 Tfitoby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: black-as-night, lit
The Chandler meets Hunter S Thompson thing is a pretty well established comparison for people discovering the work of James Crumley but having thus far refused to read Thompson I would like to mention that this second outing for See Dubya Shoog-rue plays quite a lot like a more literary, less James Bond-esque, more fucked up post-Vietnam, less Travis McGee version of Don Hamilton's Matt Helm series. Sughrue derails a train and almost single handedly storms a drug compound before the case has eve ...more
Mike
Apr 15, 2014 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as some of Crumley's other novels but still better than average.

C.W. "Sonny" Sughrue hasn't been active in the P.I. business for awhile, he has been quietly managing a small bar in his adopted hometown of Meriwether, Montana. That changes after he "executes" a jukebox (in a most spectacular fashion) and has to seek refuge with Solomon Rainbolt - a friend, fellow Vietnam veteran and (ugh) lawyer. One thing leads to another and soon he's off on a case that takes him cross country in t
...more
Melissa
Jan 05, 2016 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ah-deadly
This book is a real riot. I'm exceptionally pleased that I gave Crumley another shot because this is miles better than The Long Kiss Goodbye. I love Sughrue, even though I think it's kind of silly that almost every woman in the book has sex with him, and his supporting cast is exquisite. My personal favorites include Jimmy & Wynona (poor Wynona). This is a wonderfully written cocaine-fueled, Vietnam-tinged romp involving ducks both Mexican tree & highly orgasmic domestic - although pleas ...more
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en http://lecturaylocura.com/no-se-cansa...

Cada uno de estos libros merecería una entrada propia. Normalmente suelo unirlos en posts conjuntos, porque si no, el blog estaría lleno de entradas de la excelente colección de novela negra/policíaca del sello de RBA Serie Negra. En esta ocasión, y aprovechando el tirón de este monográfico de literatura de género, os pongo a continuación una nueva batería con tres clásicos que ordenaré de más moderno a más antiguo.
El primero del que voy a hab
...more
Luca Lesi
Sep 27, 2014 Luca Lesi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Non fa più male. Avevo alzato il bicchiere alla luce autunnale - però non fa nemmeno meno male - La tequila andava giù liscia come la luce polverosa del pomeriggio. Quando avevo rimesso il bicchiere sul banco. "
description
"Certo — aveva detto Bob, riempiendo un altro bicchierino per tutti. Era andato giù come l’ultima speranza di una razza in estinzione."
Godetevi allora il citato pezzo di Hank Snow, il ranger che canta,
It don't hurt anymore
"I giovani vedono nella primavera la stagione del rinnovamento,
...more
Alan Taylor
Jul 30, 2016 Alan Taylor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not just as good as "The Last Good Kiss" - the plot is all over the place, I got lost a few times; I am still not sure about Shugrue - although the supporting characters are a bit more likeable (Frank and Jimmy, Shugrue's fellow veterans; Norman and Mary, the biker couple who set everything moving; and, especially, the Dahlgren twins, tropical fish and arms dealers) - but still a very enjoyable read. Crumley is a recent discovery for me. I am not sure how I missed him but I'm liking catching up. ...more
Larry Webber
Oct 10, 2008 Larry Webber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Willeford & Hiaasen fans
This may be the craziest novel I've ever read. The violence gets ridiculously implausible and the plot unwieldy, but along the way there are plenty of great moments, lines and characters thrown into the chaos. I think Crumley was trying to say something about America's drug culture and the aftermath of Vietnam here but I think he failed to say anything coherent. It may be that he intended an 'impressionist' novel, but it didn't really work for me.
As others have said before me, after reading "The
...more
Anna Lemaster
I enjoyed The Last Good Kiss but this book wasn't enjoyable for me.
Unai
Feb 04, 2014 Unai rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vuelvo a irme de paseo por el género narconegro con el detective Sughrue. Esta vez años después de su primera historia, y en una novela que es mucho mejor que la primera en muchos aspectos, aunque peor en otros. El caso tiene que ver con un narco motero medio chalado amigo de Sughrue, a quien contrata, tras liarse a tiros de formas bastante ida de la olla, para que localice a una señora Mexicana, la cual asegura que es su madre.

Esta señora, está buscada ademas por medio mundo, FBI, DEA y demás a
...more
Lester
Jun 22, 2008 Lester rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's get this straight--I'm a Crumley fan, ok? I love his books, I love his writing. So, I'm the "preached-to choir", the target market, shall we say? Just FYI.

This particular Crumley novel stands out for me simply because there is a significantly reckless, anarchic, messed-up feeling to the book...veering from funny to poignant, to crazed, dark and viciously savage at times. It's another one of his "road books" (as so many of his books have the American highway in them, almost like a supportin
...more
Liam Green
Madness, madness, like all Crumley books. C.W. Sughrue is more of a drunk/cokehead with a reasonable moral compass and a masterful facility for hideous violence than an actual private investigator, but his unconventional aspects make his adventures more fun to read.

The plot of THE MEXICAN TREE DUCK makes no sense (I said that about THE LAST GOOD KISS but it was hyperbole there - it's true here) but who the fuck would read Crumley for plot? Sughrue is more bendered-out than usual in this one, and
...more
Jay
Dec 16, 2013 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every time Crumley did a catalog of the dope the characters were using at the moment, I thought that it must reflect what he was doing as he wrote; nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much. It captured a certain attitude I saw in my friends from the Army after we were discharged.

It does contain quotes such as:

"Perhaps only people who followed the letter of the law, instead of the spirit, would think of us as bad guys. Recently, it came to me that the letter of the law was a dollar sign, and the spi
...more
Greenockian
Jun 23, 2010 Greenockian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very well written novel that spans borders, cultures and categorisation. The hero, for want of a better word, is a Vietnam veteran with a lot of past which all comes in helpful on his quest. There are definitely Homeric undertones with characters who stand out as Greek-myth-like gods and monsters but it's also kick in the backside up to date.

I've read the other reviews here and the positive ones get it right - this is one to get hold of: I imagine I'll start a Crumley obsession now!
Aramys
Nov 28, 2015 Aramys rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recuerdo haber flipado mucho al leer El último buen beso, ahí descubrí a Crumley, ahí me enamore de él, leí la novela totalmente abducido y maravillado. Con El pato mexicano me han entrado ganas de correr desnudo gritando muy alto CRUMLEY ERES UN CABRON LOCO, sin ningún pudor y con una gran sonrisa en mi barbuda cara. También de beber mucha cerveza, intentar vivir la vida más intensamente y ser enormemente feliz cada segundo de mi vida.

https://viajealrededordeunamesa.wordp...
Gary
Mar 29, 2015 Gary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty complex goings-on here, where the final piece of the puzzle doesn't fall into place until the last few pages. A Vietnam-vet PI enlists some of his buddies from Vietnam days when he takes on a case--and the Vietnam connection turns out to be no casual one.

The "trinity of 20th century power" is described in the book as "cash, drugs, and firepower"--and the story presents plenty of each. A little too much for me personally, but this is certainly a well-crafted tale.
Jgwheaton
Dec 02, 2012 Jgwheaton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: noir
Well written but absolutely insane. Crumley must have spent the time between The Last Good Kiss and Mexican Tree Duck in a state of pure drug-induced psychosis, as C.W. moved from drinking a lot of whiskey to consuming vast quantities of Bolivian marching powder.

It's been said that nobody reads Crumley for plot and I thoroughly agree with that sentiment.
Paul Brazill
Jun 03, 2016 Paul Brazill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The eponymous tree duck is Private Eye C.W. Sughrue’s Rara Avis and it’s part of a wild ride that is cluttered with multi-coloured characters and vivid, lurid even, scenes. You have bikers and obese twins and ‘Nam and stolen fish and booze. And a tank. This is a book for someone who, like C.W. Sughrue, thinks that ‘life is a joke, so make it a funny one.’
Nigel
Oct 31, 2014 Nigel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Awesome fast-moving crime thriller with a sprawling, formless plot but a riveting story full of bad-ass characters with lousy attitudes, hair-trigger tempers, serious substance dependencies and terrifying amounts of firepower. There's also love and heartbreak, tragedy and hollow triumphs, friendship, PTSD and some friendly waterfowl. Crumley's the king.
Danilo
May 17, 2015 Danilo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
è il terzo lavoro che leggo di Crumley e devo ammettere che è quello che mi ha catturato di meno. forse storia e personaggi mi sono sembrati poco originali, forse la traduzione è a tratti insopportabile ("hey man" non si può tradurre con "hey uomo", dai!), o forse è un genere che mi ha stancato già da qualche tempo, fatto sta che per finirlo ho abbastanza faticato
Sally Tomaszewski
The word craft is excellent, but the story was so freakin' confusing. I need to re-read it to figure out what happened. Plus, I really didn't like C. W. Much. His constant use of drugs and alcohol makes me wonder how he got to be so old.
Mike
Oct 08, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lord I just love Crumley!!!!!!! So much I'm giving this one five stars. If you want to be thoroughly entertained by a curmudgeon detective on the move, or if you want to wade into Crumley's crazed world, this is a good place to start. A great American treasure, he was.....
Tim Lockfeld
Like a James Lee Burke book if he hadn't gone sober. Very ambitious, slightly uneven. It has perhaps too many characters and subplots(for my feeble mind). The nonchalance of the violence and the endless drugging and drinking without physical consequence didn't quite play. Still, I liked it.
Brucie
Motivation and mission are mostly missing in the lives of these characters who get into desparate situations and help each other out.
Jon Powers
Aug 24, 2015 Jon Powers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For raw, raunchy, drug-driven, booze-fueled, armed-to-the-teeth mayhem, nobody does it better than Crumley.
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James Arthur Crumley was the author of violent hardboiled crime novels and several volumes of short stories and essays, as well as published and unpublished screenplays. He has been described as "one of modern crime writing's best practitioners", who was "a patron saint of the post-Vietnam private eye novel"and a cross between Raymond Chandler and Hunter S. Thompson.His book The Last Good Kiss has ...more
More about James Crumley...

Other Books in the Series

C.W. Sughrue (4 books)
  • The Last Good Kiss (C.W. Sughrue, #1)
  • Bordersnakes
  • The Right Madness

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“It wasn’t a party that a Republican could understand--the marijuana smoke sweet on the air, the occasional cocaine sniffle, cold Mexican beer, good food, great conversation, and laughter--but a Parisian deconstructionist scholar might find it about as civilized as America gets. Or at least the one I met, who was visiting at UTEP, maintained. Somewhere along the way, he claimed, Americans had forgotten how to have a good time. In the name of good health, good taste, and political correctness from both sides of the spectrum, we were being taught how to behave. America was becoming a theme park, not as in entertainment, but as in a fascist Disneyland.” 0 likes
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