Read The Mexican Tree Duck by James Crumley Free Online
Book Title: The Mexican Tree Duck|
The author of the book: James Crumley
Edition: Mysterious Press
The size of the: 32.73 MB
City - Country: No data
Date of issue: October 1st 1994
ISBN 13: 9780446404075
Format files: PDF
Loaded: 1292 times
Reader ratings: 5.7
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”It wasn’t a party that a Republican could understand--the marijuana smoke sweet on the air, the occasional cocaine sniffle, cold Mexican beer, good food, great conversation, and laughter--but a Parisian deconstructionist scholar might find it about as civilized as America gets. Or at least the one I met, who was visiting at UTEP, maintained. Somewhere along the way, he claimed, Americans had forgotten how to have a good time. In the name of good health, good taste, and political correctness from both sides of the spectrum, we were being taught how to behave. America was becoming a theme park, not as in entertainment, but as in a fascist Disneyland.”
The Swirls around him are a good indication that Crumley is composing this book in his head.
The novel opens with C.W. Sughrue hauling his jukebox out to the train tracks with the express purpose of watching the 3:12 freight train explode it into a thousand pieces.
Tequila might be the problem.
Okay, Tequila was for sure involved.
This jukebox had given him many hours of entertainment over the years and would have given him many more except for the tasteless bastard who comes around to shuffle the records. He had the audacity to replace all the Hank Snow songs, rendering the jukebox absolutely worthless.
One last bit of entertainment, and then he can start counting down the minutes until his head starts to feel like an overripe melon getting ready to split under the hot noon day sun. He might even have regrets.
Sughrue lives in what used to be a morgue. His buddy from Vietnam, Solly Rainbolt, owns the building and lets him stay there in exchange for small investigative favors. Sughrue has retired from the P.I. game and become a bartender who happens to own a bar. He didn’t buy it. The bar was more like gifted to him as the owner made tracks South.
It is hard to stay retired when one is flat busted.
His friend, Norman, needs him to find his mother, so after some hee-hawing back and forth, several lines of coke, and a few beers for stabilization, Sughrue finds himself back on a case. His only lead takes him to the Tex-Mex border, and that is when what should make sense begins to make no sense. It doesn’t take him long to realize that mommy dearest is married to a slick Texas politician, and drug lords and the FBI are competing to find her first. How could a woman so beautiful be in so much trouble?
He enlists the aid of some of his old pals from Vietnam who may not miss Vietnam, but they do miss the heady tang of violence and the comradery of having a mission. Sughrue finds a statue of a Mexican Tree Duck which becomes the Maltese Falcon of this story.
Mexican Tree Duck
And just like in Red Harvest the bodies start piling up only faster because instead of revolvers everyone in this story has left over firepower from the war. James Crumley sprinkles the text with hardboiled dialogue that could peel wallpaper.
”Just assume the position, asshole, or they’ll be serving romaine and pepper-belly brains tonight.”
It just goes to show know your restaurant, know your restaurant well.
There is wild, passionate, last night on Earth type sex involving an undercover New Mexico Sheriff in one bizarre case. There are double crosses that intersect other double crosses making them...well...I’m not sure. Do they multiply or cancel each other out? There are Vietnam flashbacks. There are DEA agents, FBI agents and agents from government agencies that we aren’t supposed to know exist. Just to keep himself straight Sughrue is forced to keep lighting up his brain like a pinball machine on tilt with a steady supply of nose candy. There are a hundred reasons why Sughrue should just return to Montana and maybe buy a record player and a pile of Hank Snow records, but he has been knocked around one too many times and now revenge is riding in the sidecar with his own pecular sense of loyalty.
It has been decades since I’ve read a James Crumley. I know at one time I was saving them because there are so few, but I never intended to wait this long to read the next one. Funny how that happens when a guy has a few thousand books at his fingertips to pick from every time he goes into his library to grab that next book. Reading back through this review I know it sounds like this is just another Rambo Vietnam Vet story, but there is certainly literary value. Crumley is one of those guys who was being read by the spinner rack reader as well as the college professor. He knows how to compose a sentence and certainly there were times when amongst the chaos of the plot when I had to take a moment and let a sentence dangle an extra few seconds on my tongue.
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Read information about the authorJames Arthur Crumley was the author of violent hardboiled crime novels and several volumes of short stories and essays, as well as published and unpublished screenplays. He has been described as "one of modern crime writing's best practitioners", who was "a patron saint of the post-Vietnam private eye novel"and a cross between Raymond Chandler and Hunter S. Thompson.His book The Last Good Kiss has been described as "the most influential crime novel of the last 50 years."
Crumley, who was born in Three Rivers, Texas, grew up in south Texas, where his father was an oil-field supervisor and his mother was a waitress.
Crumley was a grade-A student and a football player, an offensive lineman, in high school. He attended the Georgia Institute of Technology on a Navy ROTC scholarship, but left to serve in the U.S. Army from 1958 to 1961 in the Philippines. He then attended the Texas College of Arts and Industries on a football scholarship, where he received his B.A. degree with a major in history in 1964. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing at the University of Iowa in 1966. His master's thesis was later published as the Vietnam War novel One to Count Cadence in 1969.
Crumley had not read any detective fiction until prompted to by Montana poet Richard Hugo, who recommended the work of Raymond Chandler for the quality of his sentences. Crumley finally picked up a copy of one of Chandler's books in Guadalajara, Mexico. Impressed by Chandler's writing, and that of Ross Macdonald, Crumley began writing his first detective novel, The Wrong Case, which was published in 1975.
Crumley served on the English faculty of the University of Montana at Missoula, and as a visiting professor at a number of other colleges, including the University of Arkansas, Colorado State University, the University of Texas at El Paso, Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
From the mid-80s on he lived in Missoula, Montana, where he found inspiration for his novels at Charlie B's bar. A regular there, he had many longstanding friends who have been portrayed as characters in his books.
Crumley died at St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Montana on September 17, 2008 of complications from kidney and pulmonary diseases after many years of health problems. He was survived by his wife of 16 years, Martha Elizabeth, a poet and artist who was his fifth wife. He had five children – three from his second marriage and two from his fourth – eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
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