Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Moving Target

By Ross Macdonald

Having read Chandler, Mosely, Hammet and Spillane, I now reach Macdonald and once again find myself in the seedy world of 1930's California. I have to say that its amazing how often old rich men with beautiful daughters get into trouble in noir fiction. Just about every other book has the same set up though thankfully they don't all end the same. I'm finding enough similarities to make the experience less than fantastic though and I think I may now be drawing to the close of this pulp-noir- detective phase. Just a few more books that I've stockpiled from Amazon and then thats it I think. Time to find another genre worth plundering.

'The Moving Target' is a moderately good read, though it never really gripped me. Its Macdonalds first novel featuring his star character Lew Archer, so maybe they get better? I don't know. I ordered two more so I guess I'll find out eventually. This story has the mandatory elements, a batchelor detective with a war record, investigating a mystery surrounding a very rich old man with a desirable daughter. He has the usual car, office, drinking habit and he likes to frequent night clubs looking for clues. The language seems kosher and the sudden bouts of violence aren't nearly as dramatic as Spillane's, Macdonald is more understated, almost like Chandler, but not as well written.

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