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Blue City

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  265 Ratings  ·  20 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
Jan 30, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Ross Madonald's third novel Blue City is better than his first two, principally because 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 fa
Oct 10, 2011 Mike rated it liked it  ·  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
Lukasz Pruski
Sep 13, 2016 Lukasz Pruski rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
"[...] I could see the vigorous movements of his right arm and shoulder up and down, back and forth, as he worked on it with the knife. When I got back to my car a quarter of a mile away, I could still hear her screams - or thought I could."

Ross Macdonald - the pen name of Kenneth Millar - is mainly known for the famous series of novels featuring the wise and humane PI, Lew Archer. I have recently finished re-reading and reviewing on Goodreads the entire extraordinary series, with its last entry
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
Mar 21, 2016 Gregory rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an early novel, set in 1946, by the young author of the (future) Lew Archer novels. Macdonald had obviously been inspired by Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest when he wrote this. In Red Harvest, men are gunned down like ducks in a shooting gallery. I found it exploitative and depressing. Macdonald is a much better writer than Hammett and is often referred to as the heir of Raymond Chandler. That turns out to be the case here, as the story of one man’s lonely fight against a corrupt town, it ...more
Mar 14, 2015 George rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
Πρώτη ιστορία του Ρος Μακντόναλντ που διαβάζω στην οποία δεν συμμετέχει ο ιδιωτικός ντετέκτιβ Λιου Άρτσερ, παρόλα αυτά το επίπεδο είναι το ίδιο υψηλό και, μάλιστα, παρατήρησα ότι σαν ιστορία είναι πιο μαύρη και σκληρή από αυτές με τον Άρτσερ.

Πρωταγωνιστής και αφηγητής είναι ο νεαρός Τζον Γουέδερ, ο οποίος επιστρέφει στην πόλη που γεννήθηκε και μεγάλωσε, μετά από κάποια χρόνια που πολέμησε στην Ευρώπη. Παρατηρεί ότι η πόλη έχει αλλάξει πολύ και ότι ο πατέρας του, μεγάλος επιχειρηματίας, που είχε
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
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Nathanael Smith
Mar 16, 2014 Nathanael Smith rated it really liked it
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
Jan 24, 2012 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 25, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
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
David Green
Nov 23, 2011 David Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 05, 2016 Luke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was reading that this was one of Macdonald's earlier novels, and it seemed apparent to me, because while I thought that Macdonald knew what he wanted to do, he didn't always seem to know quite how he wanted to do it. The ending was considerably better than the rest of the novel, and probably saved this from being a two star review. Anyway, I think it's time to go seek out the movie, and see exactly how bad it is.
Apr 13, 2014 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 16, 2016 Sienna rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2016
What a way with words... "night blooming floozies" ... "chilly aluminum dawn" ... it's almost too much. Blue City is not a Lew Archer book, & it's a little hard. Not hard to read, a hard story with hard characters, even the protagonist. Three & a half stars.
Jul 01, 2014 Trevor rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Adam Smith
Oct 10, 2013 Adam Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 23, 2012 Tim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in 2004 and wrote: "a masterful, white hot noir novel; superbly written" (in my usual pretentious style!)
Aug 31, 2011 Jarrod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Ronald Wilcox
Mar 13, 2015 Ronald Wilcox rated it liked it
Another noir type novel by MacDonald. Good story line but not up to the caliber of others I have read by this author. Still enjoyed it though.
Iain Landon
Iain Landon rated it liked it
Mar 15, 2012
Mike Katz
Mike Katz rated it really liked it
Mar 30, 2015
Eachan rated it really liked it
Dec 19, 2013
Dixon rated it liked it
Feb 10, 2010
Gregg rated it really liked it
Apr 11, 2015
Russell rated it it was amazing
Dec 27, 2015
Tim rated it liked it
Feb 23, 2009
Kristen rated it really liked it
Jan 24, 2009
Therese rated it really liked it
Jun 06, 2011
Skafti Hardarson
Skafti Hardarson rated it liked it
Dec 16, 2012
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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 about Ross Macdonald...

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