The Moving Target (Lew Archer #1)
As Lew Archer follows the clues from the canyon sanctuaries of the megarich to jazz joints wh ...more
I read all of the Archer books some thirty-five years ago, and since then I have been under the impression that none of the books until The Galton Case was worthy of attention. I was wrong.
True, The Moving Target (Archer #1) lacks a family tragedy with haunted children that is the hallmark of later Archer, and it also lacks a disciplined series of images--both in metaphor and in the visuals evoked by the narrative--that carry us to the heart of the classic Archer tale.
Still, there's enough her ...more
Brain's in my stomach,
Heart's in my mouth,
Want to go north -
My feet point south.
I got the psychosomatic blues.
Doctor, doctor, doctor,
Analyze my brain.
Organize me, doctor.
Doctor ease my pain -
I got the psychosomatic blues.
A world-weary private detective sits down in a rundown bar with a whisky and a smoke in front of him, listening to a sultry, sexy singer playing the blues on the piano. She may be involved in a crime he is currently investigating, the disappearance of a wealthy oil tyc ...more
The Moving Target was a fast-paced noir thriller. Archer kept getting deeper and deeper into trouble. The love triangle between Miranda Sampson, Albert Graves, and Allen Taggart seemed to be needless at first but proved to be a very important plot element. One thing I really lik ...more
Archer is hired by a woman to find her millionaire husband, who has been missing for a couple of days. He'd wandered off, drunk, when the chauffeur went to bring the limo around at the airport. He had a habit of doing such and the last time he'd given away a mountain with a hunting lodge to weird old religious freak. See, he was into astrology and such. The wife wanted him found before he did something else stupid.
Not having much luck, a letter arrives, in the milliona ...more
Macdonald’s (anti)hero, Lew Archer, is a private detective with all the expected private detective characteristics (few friends, shady history ...more
"The Moving Target" is superb. The dialogue is snappy, bitting and can pack a punch. A slightly less sad version of the world that Chandler created. And, I'll go ahead and say it, better than the majority of what Hammett wrote. Better characters, better settings, bet ...more
With that said, reading the mysteries that I have, it occurred to me that I should do some backtracking and read from the masters of the genre; writers (who proudly claimed to be writers, not authors) and 'just one of the guys.' They thought nothing of 'popping off' with a serial in The Black Mask as an ...more
Once upon a time he was apparently ranked as part of ‘The Holy Trinity’ of crime writers alongside Hammett and Chandler. Having now read his first Lew Archer novel I’m not sure I’d place him as high as Chandler, but I was mightily impressed with what I found and wonder how I managed to miss him until now.
Archer is hired to find a ...more
Lew Archer is on the case in this combination novel involving kidnapping and murder. A man named Samson has disappeared and his wife calls in Archer to help find him. They’re used to his disappearance for drunken toots occasionally, but they don’t think that this is the case here. Samson is a very wealthy man. Although he and his family now live in California, he made his money from his oil wells in Texas. His wife doesn’t like him very much, but s ...more
The light-blue haze in the lower canyon was like a thin smoke from slowly burning money. Even the sea looked precious through it, a solid wedge held in the canyon's mouth,...more
About 2/3 of the way through, though, Mr. MacDonald distinguished himself with exceptional character depth. He w ...more
Following the short stories compiled in "The Name Is Archer" by taking as its central theme the shadow side of post-WW2 America's prosperity, the plot here revolves around an eccentric oil baron who disappea ...more
I'm not entertained by much of the new ground, though, broken in this book, since I prefer murder mysteries with little to no sexual content. It's shocking, even today, to see this much sexuality in a book from 1949. Agatha Christie this ain't. I can only imagine how readers of the day must...more
The story here is straightforward. Plotwise, it didn't throw any surprises to me, particularly after reading up on C ...more
I enjoyed the plot. It was one that constantly kept you guessing. Archer is hired by Sampson's wife, who seems to be a bit indifferent to Sampson's disappearance, making her appear guilty. As characters are added to the plot, they all seem to have some characteristic that makes them a ...more
This follows the classic MacDonald mold of being a family drama disguised as a detective story and really focuses in on the sadness and bitterness that can be encountered by the rich and well-to-do. Lew Archer tries to maintain a professional distance but has all the humanism of Marlowe and is inev ...more
After re ...more
Conseil : on ne doit pas ouvrir un Lew Archer pour son intrigue ou son tempo d’enfer, les deux étant secondaires.
Non pas que l’enquête soit bâclée, lente, à chier ou capillotractée, loin de là, mais ici, le plus important, c’est toute la galerie de personnages qui gravite autour ...more
A wealthy, hard drinking man with nothing to do but let those petrodollars roll in goes missing. His invalid wife seems to want him found simply so she can remain in control of her private world, while hi ...more
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