Blue City
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Blue City

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  184 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A crime novel in which a young man, just back from the war, discovers that his father has been killed on a street corner, and decides to solve the case himself, but this means immersing himself in the brutal underworld in which his father moved freely.
Hardcover, 231 pages
Published by Lawrence Hill Books (first published 1947)
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Bill  Kerwin

Ross Madonald's third novel "Blue City" is an improvement on the first two. Macdonald has finally discovered how to create a narrator who doesn't sound like an English teacher. The style is almost classic Macdonald: spare, restrained, earnest and sad, with the metaphors--still literary--well prepared for and adapted to the individual speaker.

This is not a Lew Archer novel, but it is a real mystery nevertheless. Johnny Weathers returns from combat in WWII to find that his estranged father J.D., t...more
Oct 10, 2011 Mike rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
"Blue City" is not a Lew Archer novel, nor does he make even a cameo appearance. Despite that, the copy I read has "A Lew Archer Novel" boldly printed underneath "Blue City" on the title page. It's also listed that way within the BPL's catalog system. So, forewarned is fore-armed, as they say.

"Blue City" was copyrighted in 1947 under the author's birth name, Kenneth Millar. It may be his first novel length work (I have not checked). During the same period he had written at least one Lew Archer s...more
One of the best crime stories I have read. It has an unusually strong moral/political take on what is going on in the society. In a town John Weather struggles to unravel the webs of violent intrigue that have become woven by the power struggles of the eminent, but morally bankrupt, echelons of the local society. Everyone seems to have a perfectly good reason to commit crimes! Some even believe that they are committing crimes for the good of the society. This is a searing expose of the shallowne...more
Nathanael Smith
For having been written in 1947, this is a pretty heavy book. Much more hardboiled than any of the other Ross Macdonald I've read, probably even exceeding most other hardboiled novels I've read in rawness and content, including Mickey Spillane. As I read it, my mind kept going to Batman, especially The Long Halloween and Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight adaptation; you've got this corrupt city and this guy who comes in to clean it up, not caring how he does it, paired with the "white knight" char...more
I'm having a hard time trying to put a review together for this. I mean, what exactly can I say about it? First off, it was rather dark and a hair pessimistic, especially as it went on. And really, I think it was a book about corruption more than it was about anything else. (There was a bit of Marxist subplot which I was less than in love with, but I'm trying to get over that.) The requisite love interest was present, but didn't overwhelm the plot, and she was more like a real person than a stoc...more
Dewayne Stark
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very early Macdonald, his similes and metaphors are heavy handed and his style isn't yet developed. Interesting to read this and know he would develop to write the Lew Archer series. Not nearly as good as his later writing, probably not worth reading if you haven't read all of his later work.
Early Macdonald, a bit strained & derivative of Red Harvest, lacking the sustained descriptive punch of later work, but fascinating to see his style developing. A decent yarn, a hard-boiled hero worth rooting for.
I was quite ambivalent to this story until I reached the last 20 or so pages and then I was struck by how much America's relationship with unions and the working class has not changed. John's anger with Sanford and Sanford's excuses for borderline criminal actions to shut out unions from his factories could have come out of the mouth of many contemporary manufacturing & retail executives. My personal politics notwithstanding, the newspaper editorial and Sanford's complete denial of the strug...more
John Weather comes back home to find his father has been dead for two years. He doesn't want to know that his father was murdered, much less that he was a leading figure in the local government corruption. All John has to oppose the conspiracy of crime lords and police and his own stepmother is the skill he developed as a WWII soldier, but John is an indomitable fighter.

This is one of Ross Macdonald's early efforts, before he found and connected with Lew Archer. John Weather's city isn't big eno...more
David Green
Ross Macdonald is one of my favorite writers. Not only do I love the hard boiled detective genre, but he is clearly one of the best purveyors of the genre with his great characters, language and stories. Blue City is the first book of his I have read that doesn't feature PI Lew Archer. It is the gritty story of a young man who returns home from the Army to find out his childhood hometown is full of corruption. he steps right into the battle to clean up the town and solve a murder no one else see...more
Adam Smith
Great book. Written in 1947, but aside from a few antiquated colloquialisms you could hardly tell. A little misogynistic, but the times and the genre are apt to have that. Kept me guessing until the end and I still didn't see "the killer" being who it was.
best random find in ages, can't get results like this by looking on line. walking the shelfs in a physical book store and stumbling upon greats like this is aces.
I read this in 2004 and wrote: "a masterful, white hot noir novel; superbly written" (in my usual pretentious style!)
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Ross Macdonald is the pseudonym of the American-Canadian writer of crime fiction Kenneth Millar. He is best known for his series of hardboiled novels set in southern California and featuring private detective Lew Archer.

Millar was born in Los Gatos, California, and raised in his parents' native Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, where he started college. When his father abandoned his family unexpectedly,...more
More about Ross Macdonald...
The Drowning Pool (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) The Chill The Galton Case The Moving Target The Way Some People Die

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