The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel

Benjamin Black. Holt, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9814-3
Black (the pseudonym that John Banville uses for his crime fiction) isn’t the first to tackle the daunting challenge of recreating the distinctive narrative voice of Raymond Chandler’s world-weary, mean streets–walking L.A. private eye, Philip Marlowe. Despite Robert B. Parker’s lengthy experience in the PI genre, his sequel to The Big Sleep, Perchance to Dream, pales in comparison with Black’s pitch-perfect recreation of the character and his time and place. As for the language, Black nails Chandler’s creative and memorable similes and metaphors. When Marlowe shakes hands with someone, “It was like being given a sleek, cool-skinned animal to hold for a moment or two.” The title character, Clare Cavendish, wanders into Marlowe’s office to ask him to trace her lover, Nico Peterson, who disappeared two months earlier. The case appears to wrap up quickly after Marlowe learns that Peterson was the victim of a hit-and-run, but Cavendish has some major revelations in store. While the mystery is well plotted, Black elevates it beyond mere thoughtful homage with a plausible injection of emotion in his wounded lead. Author tour. Agent: Ed Victor, Ed Victor Literary Agency (U.K.). (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/13/2014
Release date: 03/04/2014
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FORMATS
Hardcover - 429 pages - 978-1-4104-6719-5
Open Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-8050-9815-0
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-3336-3
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