The Chill Ross MacDonald

ISBN: 9780006144137

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The Chill  by  Ross   MacDonald

The Chill by Ross MacDonald
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The surprise with which a detective novel concludes should set up tragic vibrations which run backward through the entire structure, wrote Ross Macdonald in his 1981 Self-Portrait. Nowhere in his work does he better demonstrate this principle thanMoreThe surprise with which a detective novel concludes should set up tragic vibrations which run backward through the entire structure, wrote Ross Macdonald in his 1981 Self-Portrait. Nowhere in his work does he better demonstrate this principle than in The Chill, first published in 1964.

The plot is one of Macdonalds most masterfully constructed. Private detective Lew Archer is engaged to trace a missing spouse, who has vanished--apparently of her own free will--only a day into her honeymoon. Archer begins pulling at the threads of the case, and by page 25 theyre already starting to reveal a deeper, darker story involving two murders 20 years apart.

As usual, Macdonalds economical prose propels the reader forward from one action-packed scene to another, while the scenes in turn pile up to paint a rich, complex picture of buried memories, anguished relations between parents and children, the arrogance of the rich, and the search for identity. Then, at the end, one of the authors best surprise reversals changes the pictures colors entirely. Even if youre one of those discerning readers who find Macdonalds lesser work superior to most other mystery writing (as does this reviewer), The Chill stands out among his books.

--Nicholas H. Allison



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