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The Chill (Lew Archer #11)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  2,309 Ratings  ·  172 Reviews
In The Chill a distraught young man hires Archer to track down his runaway bride. But no sooner has he found Dolly Kincaid than Archer finds himself entangled in two murders, one twenty years old, the other so recent that the blood is still wet. What ensues is a detective novel of nerve-racking suspense, desperately believable characters, and one of the most intricate plot ...more
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Published December 22nd 2010 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published 1963)
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Bill  Kerwin
Jun 06, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Young Alex Kincaid wants Lew Archer to find his wife Dolly, who left in the middle of their honeymoon weekend. It seems a gray-bearded man visited her in their hotel room, and soon after she disappeared. It doesn't take Lew long to find Dolly, but by the time he does she is tangled up in two murders and mired even more deeply in the past.

This is one of Ross Macdonald's best dectective novels—perhaps the finest of all. The plot is extraordinarily complex, but never convoluted. The book is filled
Mar 13, 2010 Jim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best of Macdonald's Lew Archer novels. My only complaint is that the characters became a little difficult to keep track of late in the book, but that may have been more due to my reading habits than to Macdonald. In any event, a wonderful entry in the series.
Jan 28, 2008 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lew Archer is a classic male detective; arrogant, dark, charming, and alcoholic. But there is a twist to this dick. He DOESN'T sleep with the girl! I was quite surprised, and it made me proud of this author. Unfortunately for the girl she is murdered that night, so having some law around may have helped a bit. There are a lot of characters to follow in this tale of murder and deceit, which is both confusing and fun. It's easy to follow Nancy Drew; there are only six characters in the book, one d ...more
Oct 18, 2009 rabbitprincess rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Chandler and Hammett
Recommended to rabbitprincess by: Linwood Barclay (at least he recommended Macdonald in general)
A superbly well-written novel. The story starts off with private detective Lew Archer being engaged by one Alex Kincaid to track down his wife, Dolly, who has disappeared after the first day of their honeymoon. Normally Archer doesn't do simple domestic cases, but this case proves to be far from simple. The threads of the case extend 20 years into the past toward events that continue to have a significant impact on the present. The case takes Archer almost halfway across the United States and ba ...more
Doug Howgate
Jun 14, 2008 Doug Howgate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to pick a favorite Macdonald, but this one is probably the most memorable.
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
Getting the inevitable comparison out of the way, this is the second Ross MacDonald novel I've read and he does not come close to the soul Raymond Chandler poured into his novels. Not coming close to Chandler doesn't mean MacDonald is not any good, however. From what others write, The Chill is one of MacDonald's best, perhaps the best. While he does basically copy Chandler's form without being able to replicate Chandler's glorious intangibles, this is a damn good noir story in its own right. Yes ...more
Jul 17, 2009 Gabriel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shadow-man
This is, as of its reading, my favorite Macdonald novel. Better by leaps and bounds than the books that came before it, although I see that The Galton Case could have been the real breakthrough-- The Chill takes Macdonald's previous novel's sophisticated use of plot and character and turns them in on themselves.

The Chill is that rare "mystery" that does not violate Chandler's rule of the reader being privy to all of the information that the PI has, while still remaining a mystery to the end. Th
Noir mysteries. I really like Lew Archer: the character's thought process, how he interviews people, the period and location these books are set - LA,Southern CA, post WW2 - boomtime, but not everybody is booming.
Sue Grafton says he has been a big influence on her writing, so if you like her, you'll Like Ross MacDonald. Not to be confused by the other Macdonald who wrote similarly during this time, with FL as his setting.
Sep 29, 2011 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
I don't have any pithy quotations to include in this review. I read this book expecting a really good read; I was very satisfied with the writing. This is ROSS MACDONALD we are talking about. The man has great ideas, descriptions, characters and motivations and this book has all of them.

Although I have now digested several of his novels and short fiction, I continue to be surprised and impressed. I couldn't see how this story was going to tie up all the loose plot lines, but I assure you it does
Seamus Thompson
Oct 02, 2012 Seamus Thompson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

My favorite mystery novel.

Ross Macdonald writes in the noir/private eye tradition of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett but there the resemblance ends. Chandler features a strong first-person narrator (Marlowe) and plots made up of well-crafted scenes (and many loose ends). Macdonald's narrator (Lew Archer) is a minor character who just happens to be in every scene and his plots are as clever and intricate as the best British mysteries. Where other crime writers in the gumshoe genre are obse
Carla Remy
Another totally satisfying Ross Macdonald book. Many think he's a weaker imitation of Chandler, and obviously he was inspired, but - unpopular as this admission might be - at times I think I like Macdonald better. He's more subtle and he always has a stellar mystery.
Sep 28, 2012 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My second Ross Macdonald book, on the recommendation of a Goodreads friend. I thought my first one showed masterful control of a large cast, with a very complicated plot. But it was child's play compared to this one. And again, Macdonald kept it all very clear, played absolutely fair (I think), and, wow, I did not see the ending coming. I've read far too many murder mysteries, and this one, written a half-century ago, really entertained and surprised me.
Mar 23, 2016 F.R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
And now I understand why those more au fait than Ross McDonald than I, have been heartily recommending that I read ‘The Chill’.

This is one of the best detective novels I’ve read (and I really haven’t been a slouch at picking up detective novels). ‘The Chill’ is an absolutely superb mystery tale with real depth and a tonne of atmosphere. There is no higher praise from me than to say it is worthy of Raymond Chandler.
Archer is hired – almost as a spontaneous decision – by Alex Kincaid, a young man
Apr 03, 2013 Frank rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Pretty damn good! Taut, fast-paced, snappy dialogue, with wisecracks sometimes reminiscent of the 40s noirs, but still modern enough to make you mentally picture Paul Newman or Steve McQueen in the main role instead of Humphrey Bogart. The Dutch essayist Bas Heijne recently touted this as being 'better than Chandler and Hammet', and there's something to that. Chandler could be self-indulgent in his prose and messy in his plots, Hammet may have been important in the shaping of the hard-boiled det ...more
Wow! What a story. If a detective story can get better than this I don't really see how. The twists and turns in this are so many, and red-herrings abound, only they don't seem like red-herrings, even afterwards. Amazing.
Apr 11, 2016 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
“Some men spend their lives looking for ways to punish themselves for having been born.”
― Ross Macdonald, The Chill


Ross Macdonald might write Chandleresque noir as good or better than Chandler. Some of the lines from 'The Chill' were so sharp they could cut a day into dark chocolate, bite-sized hours. 'The Chill' had a pretty good twist at the end. The only downside to the novel was it almost needed an overcoat with extra pockets for all the characters. By the end, I needed a small pocket book
Jul 15, 2014 AC rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-mystery
This is, to put it bluntly, Macdonald at his peak. If you want to read one Macdonald book, this is it. (The Galton Case comes in second.)

There are some key similarities of theme with Zebra, which (notwithstanding the flaws I indicated in my review of that book) is excellent, and it would probably help to read Zebra before reading The Chill.

It has been said that late Archer is a therapist, with a priviate detective's licence. And it is Macdonald's skill to have been able to create plausibly, and
Ross MacDonald is, for me, the guy you keep on dating way too long because he's got lots of qualities that you value and you're convinced you should be really into him, but no matter how hard you try, despite the odd fun night or great conversation, that certain something just isn't there.

I'm not sure what the problem is. I like his California settings and, for the most part, his plots, and he does have some strong, interesting characters. While I almost like his preoccupation with the mental he
Aug 01, 2014 Tony rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE CHILL. Ross Macdonald. ****.
I read this the first time many, many years ago. Aside from the fact that I couldn’t remember much about the plot, I could remember having difficulty with the plot. This reading confirmed that the plot of this Lew Archer episode was one of the most complex he had ever written. It starts out simply enough: a young man approaches Archer with a problem – his wife has left him and disappeared. He wants Archer to find her and convince her to come back. Sounds simple. T
Diego Paim
Dec 28, 2014 Diego Paim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sam Reaves
Ross Macdonald wrote some terrific books, and I would count myself a fan, but I do find that the quality varies a little. Some are just not quite as acutely observed, not as fully convincing; they just don't ring as true. Sometimes his ear failed him.
This one is on MWA's list of the hundred best mysteries ever, so I was prepared to be blown away; sadly I thought it was not one of Macdonald's best.
A young man just married after a whirlwind romance hires Archer to find his bride, who skipped out o
Jun 29, 2015 Evgeny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A runaway bride became practically a cliché of romantic comedies:
A runaway bride
This time it is a little different: a young wife left her husband right during the first days of their honeymoon without any explanation. Before people start throwing around accusations of domestic abuse - which became another cliché lately - I need to say that no, the guy was nice to his spouse. Anyhow, the devastated guy literally stumbled upon Lew Archer who took pity of him and promised to take a look around trying to find the
Jul 25, 2015 Carla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my, what a great plot, and such terrifying older women. Twist after twist, byzantine-- I loved it.
Benoit Lelievre
Some people are going to tear out my eyeballs for giving this one such a middling score, but please hear me out before you do. The plotting of THE CHILL is absolutely superb. The mystery is convoluted, wonderfully visceral and the cast is absurdly complicated, but in the best possible way. Somebody on Amazon called it 'Hitchcockian' and I would say it's absolutely right.



That dialogue, guys. It stunk. It was some of the most frustrating, cardboard dialogue stapled over
May 13, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"You think I'm an alcoholic or something?"
"I think you're a bundle of nerves. Pour alcohol on a bundle of nerves and it generally turns into a can of worms. While I'm making suggestions you might as well get rid of those chips you're wearing on both shoulders. Somebody's liable to knock them off and take a piece of you with them."

"I drove downhill through deepening twilight toward the Mariner's Rest Motel, telling myself in various tones of voice that I had done the right thing. The trouble was,
Jun 22, 2016 Liadagh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, noir
Lew Archer is the PI hired to located a newly married bride who disappeared from her honeymoon suite. This leads Archer to stumble onto a professor's murder, which in turn helps him to uncover over two decades of duplicity, covert deceptions, and deflection. And what a twist! One I didn't see coming until several pages from the end.

This novel was about the devastating affects of corruption and the arrogance of entitlement that swept through the lives of several innocent people whom were either u
Lukasz Pruski
Jul 20, 2016 Lukasz Pruski rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I [...] sat on a bench at a bus stop, and read in my new book about Heraclitus. All things flow like a river, he said; nothing abides. Parmenides, on the other hand, believed that nothing ever changed, it only seemed to. Both views appealed to me."

The Chill (1964) is the eleventh - out of eighteen - Lew Archer novel by Kenneth Millar, writing under the pseudonym of Ross Macdonald. It is one of the best entries in the series and deservedly received the Silver Dagger Award from the British Crime
Sep 30, 2016 iarXiv rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-english
The best Lew Archer book up until this point in Macdonald's series. Superb plotting and denouement with writing to match. Worth every minute — and it's over all too quickly.
Sep 24, 2016 Leslie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, owned
Excellent example of the gumshoe style of mystery. One aspect that I particularly like is the fact that the book is focused entirely on the mystery - no long passages about the detective's personal problems. I don't mean to imply that Lew Archer is one-dimensional but that he is a man who focuses on the job. This had plenty of twists and surprises but none that the author 'cheats' with - the reader learns about them when Archer does.
Alicia Utter
Rate: 6 out of 10
Pages: 279

This book was republished. It is part of a series where the main character is Archer. I can't help but think that one of my favorite TV shows gives a nod to it, Archer. There were too many characters floating around in this book. The murders were confusing. And Archer was running around the country chasing leads that were very old.

I enjoyed some of the characters as they were very "sixties." There was all the expected misogyny that was a bit overwhelming. When women ma
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Chapters 25-32 1 5 Sep 28, 2013 08:30PM  
Chapters 17-24 1 2 Sep 28, 2013 08:28PM  
Chapters 9-16 1 4 Sep 28, 2013 08:28PM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Lew Archer (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Name Is Archer
  • The Moving Target
  • The Drowning Pool (Vintage Crime/Black Lizard)
  • The Way Some People Die
  • The Ivory Grin
  • Find a Victim
  • The Barbarous Coast
  • The Doomsters
  • The Galton Case
  • The Wycherly Woman

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“Pour alcohol on a bundle of nerves and it generally turns into a can of worms.” 3 likes
“Some men spend their lives looking for ways to punish themselves for having been born.” 3 likes
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