The Right Madness
James Crumley is one of the most influential crime writers of the post-Chandler era, and his raw, subversive novels have earned him living legend status. He first introduced readers to C. W. Sughrue (“‘Shoog’ as in sugar. And ‘rue’ as in rue the goddamned day”) in his now classic The Last Good Kiss. An ex-army officer turned Montana private eye, Sughrue is as tough and cynical as he is good-hearted and weak-kneed when it comes to women and booze. He’s back to take readers on a bender through small towns, dark bars, and dank hotel rooms in a novel charged with Crumley’s genius for the poetry of violence.
In The Right Madness, Sughrue’s close friend, psychiatrist Will MacKinderick, begs him to track down stolen confidential psychoanalysis files—he suspects one of his patients is the culprit. Going against every last instinct, Sughrue agrees to take on the case—a $20,000 retainer is always hard to resist. And when the suspects start dying of violently unnatural causes, Sughrue—fueled by alcohol, drugs, and lurid sexual entanglements—finds himself struggling to stay ahead of the madness unfolding around him.
Before Pelecanos, Connelly, and Lehane, there was Crumley and, with The Right Madness, he shows us once again how he put the “hard” in “hard-boiled.”
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