The Right Madness by James Crumley — A Quick Review

Punk Noir Magazine

“I was still covered with pig shit and wanted to kill somebody, anybody. If you’ve never felt that fire, you don’t know what it’s like: like an orgasm that never stops, like a moment when everything is right.”

Hell. As we reach the twilight of 2021, I curse myself for only just now discovering the absolute beautiful madness that is James Crumley’s pill-popping, weed-smoking, coke-snorting, ex-hippie, barfly private detective C.W. Sughrue. But, as I finish THE RIGHT MADNESS, I find myself smiling as well. Because discovering a new series that’s incredibly well-written, in a hard-boiled, hard drinking vernacular that fits your world-view is similar to starting a new friendship with someone who “gets you”.

To be honest, I picked this book up in a second-hand bookstore because I dig the cover. Again proving the point that judging a book by its cover is correct in the majority of cases.

Crumley’s prose is perfect. This is crime fiction at its absolute peak. Poetic, lyrical, gritty, hard boiled, stylized paragraphs pulling you along on one helluva joyride of a mystery.

“The last gig almost killed me partner,” I said. “I didn’t shit right or sleep through the night for months…”

CW Sughrue’s psychotherapist best buddy, Dr Will Mackindrick, begs him to come out of retirement and a drunken stupor to find out who broke into his office and stole his patients confidential files. Reluctantly, C. W takes on the case and is confronted with a grisly suicide his first day on the job. Murder, madness and mayhem ensues.

I realized this is the fourth in the C.W. Sughrue Series and have scrambled around on Amazon to get the rest of the series. The writing is that good.

Hell, I think this could possibly be my number one read of 2021.

I’ve also had Crumley’s One to Count Cadence on my TBR shelf for a while and will be jumping into that ASAP.

If you’re a fan of crime fiction or transgressive fiction this is a must read. ASAP. You won’t regret it.


Highly Recommended