Part of my sudden interest in reading James Crumley was the news from this past spring which suggested Mel Gibson’s interest in adapting this book with famed Chinatown screenwriter Robert Towne. Gibson described the story as “basically Chinatown set in a 7-11 in 70s Montana, with a lot of cocaine.”
First and foremost, Mel Gibson is a lousy human being whose continued popularity in the film industry is a national disgrace. I hope he doesn’t make this movie. But I hope someone less vile than him does (the Coens, perhaps? They like westerns and noir.). Because Gibson’s description is accurate.
Like Chinatown, the plot is impossibly dense, to the point where the protagonist jokes about it in what has to be a meta moment. I didn’t really know what was going on until the end and even still, I don’t have a full grasp of it.
But I don’t read Crumley for the plots or mysteries, although this may be his best yet. I read him for the lush depictions of a northwest setting and fun dialogue. This isn’t different from other Crumley reads, except more convoluted. But it’s fun from start to finish. And it says a lot about what war does to the human condition.
I’ve now resolved myself to reading the entirety of the man’s canon and my only disappointment is there are but a handful of books left. I’m not a fan of Milo per se but I like his world and I find him to be an interesting enough tour guide.