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The Far Side Of The Dollar (Lew Archer #12)

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  753 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Has Tom Hillman run away from his exclusive reform school, or has he been kidnapped? Are his wealthy parents protecting him or their own guilty secrets? And why does every clue lead Lew Archer to an abandoned Hollywood hotel, where starlets and sailors once rubbed shoulders with grifters--and where the present clientele includes a brand-new corpse.
Paperback, 250 pages
Published 1988 by Allison & Busby (first published 1965)
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Bill  Kerwin

In this admirable example of the Lew Archie series, a wealthy high school boy's search for his personal history precipitates crimes in the present as it dredges up the sins of the past.

This book is filled with the hunger for fathers and fathering, and its tragedy is a consequence of fatherly failures, for which mothers--and sons and daughters as well--must suffer.

This book has too many flaws to be considered in the category of first-class Archer, that handful of novels that includes perhaps six
It seems that nearly every Ross Macdonald novel involves old family secrets rearing their ugly heads. But then Mozart pretty much used only 7 different notes per octave, so it's the execution that matters, not the tools. And this story of private investigator Lew Archer trying to unravel the apparent kidnapping of a teenaged boy is, as is almost always the case with Macdonald, finely executed.
Oct 01, 2011 Mike rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
In "The Far Side of the Dollar" Mr. Macdonald has created yet another well-written tale of hope, despair, love and self-interest. Doesn't sound much like a hard-boiled detective story, does it? And that is a large part of the genius of Ross Macdonald; the intricate blending of psychology, emotion and ethics (on the part of Lew Archer, mostly) into a difficult mystery that only a Marlowe, Spade or Archer will have the perseverance to solve.

Like many others I have touched on the use of character m
I simply love the way this man writes. Granted, he's glib, and pop, but he's very good at what he does. He nails people:
She smiled, and I caught a glimpse of her life’s meaning. She cared for other people. Nobody cared for her.

He catches those fleeting but profound emotions:
She climbed down the ladder and flitted away through the trees, one of those youngsters who make you feel like apologizing for the world.

He can sum up a personality in one line:
Daly had the habit of serviceability. “Okay. I’
Nov 25, 2007 Jerry rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any Mystery Fa
Ross MacDonald at his best. The rest of us can rant about the danger of religious fanaticism, but R M simply creates a fearsome character whose demented beliefs set so much of the story in motion and cause such human suffering. And this character takes up but one page.
As usual, MacDonald suffused his character's outlook with much sympathy regarding everyone caught up in this mess, including his nemeses.

James Newman
Dysfunctional family, money at stake, detective Formula that ticked all the boxes except maybe the box for originality. I’ll read more from the author, but I wouldn’t go so far as some to say he’s up there with Hammet or Chandler in terms of style. Closer to Mickey Spillane or Chase in that regard, excellent plot with some sweet twists toward the finale. Good old-fashioned formulaic fun. Enjoyed it.
THE FAR SIDE OF THE DOLLAR. (1964). Ross Macdonald. ****.
Our favorite private eye, Lew Archer, is hired by the principal of a private reform school to track down a run-away inmate. The escapee is Tom, the son of a wealthy family who has placed him I the institution to attempt a change in attitude and to protect the family from scandal. Archer gets on to the trail, but it soon escalates into more than he bargained for. The basics of the plot will be familiar to Macdonald fans, but he manages to g
One of the very best of Ross Macdonald's novels, which makes it one of the very best of the best detective novels ever penned.
This is a great Archer novel, and even though I’ve read more than one other Archer book where the seventeen-year-old character happens to run into the couple who gave up a child for adoption seventeen years prior, this one stayed fresh as I was reading. Sure, it’s a little predictable, but the voice was punchy and all the right notes were hit at the right time. An Archer book executed exactly as it should have been. The only weird moments – and this is where I can’t give it five stars – come whe ...more
Phillip Frey
Mar 26, 2014 Phillip Frey rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery, dectective lovers.
I read most of Ross MacDonald's books years ago and thought I would enjoy reading them again. I was right. This one is a PI Lew Archer book, as most of MacDonald's books are. Lew Archer is hired to find the teenage son of a family with secrets. This uncovers a kidnapping, along with two murders, which wouldn't have happened if the family had told Lew Archer about the skeletons in their closet.
This was headed toward a four, the characters were just not as intriguing as some of the other Archer books (although Stella is one of MacDonald's most endearing personalities) and the plot had some funny coincidences in it that seemed somewhat arbitrary. As a crime novel, first-rate; as an Archer novel... I was thinking that it wasn't one of the best until, BANG!, the plot just tied up in the last 30 pages in a manner so masterful that it would take far to long for me to explain MacDonald's met ...more
Rob Smith
What's it I find with west coast mysteries where the story is well written, but the pacing is a bit drawn out. Unlike books written today where pure fluffy drivel fills hundreds of pages, this one has a bit too much of back and forth just to throw the reader to the solution. That despite my figuring out a bunch of it early on. I've has similar feeling about other Ross MacDonald books.

Otherwise, this is a good mystery that has the Archer character chasing in all kinds of directions. The location
full title: Far Side of the Dollar, or The Private Investigator as Psychotherapist and Family Counselor
Vicki Cline
A teenage boy has run away from his upper-class reform school, and the head of the school wants Archer to find him. As in most of MacDonald's later books, everything leads back to an old crime, but it's the young people in the present who suffer. I don't know if it's because these books take place in the period of my young adulthood, but they all seem to be timeless. Of course, if it took place now, there would be mentions of Google and cell phones, but they're not missed.
Not Macdonald's best, but still enjoyable
Karin Montin
I'm a Macdonald fan, but I found this one somewhat lacking. Archer, looking for a teenage runaway, goes from one interview to another, picking up information along the way. As usual, certain people need no persuasion to spill lots of beans. As usual, family relationships are murky and people's motives are connected to events of long ago.
This was my post-Moby Dick decompression. I liked it a lot but you have to be into noir. Closer to Chandler than Hammett.

Here's the breakdown- Hammett is New Order. MacDonald is Pet Shop Boys. Chandler is Erasure.

Anyway I picked up another book by MacDonald.
Charlene C
I think what I like most about Ross Macdonald's books is the mood he creates with his writing...they take place beginning in the 40's,and run into thet 70's, but they put me in mind of the old classic movies of the 40's...
Some good hard boiled detective stuff, though the hero was a little bit too noble.
Mike Savage
If I had to choose,this would be his best...well, maybe. They're all so good.
Patsy Crawford
suggested by Jim Beavers on facebook. 2/14/11
vintage but readable
Eric added it
Feb 25, 2015
nmcfarl marked it as to-read
Feb 16, 2015
Gene Pippin
Gene Pippin marked it as to-read
Feb 14, 2015
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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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The Drowning Pool (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard) The Chill The Galton Case The Moving Target The Way Some People Die

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