Dancing Bear Free read ´ 2


  • Paperback
  • 240
  • Dancing Bear
  • James Crumley
  • English
  • 11 May 2017
  • 9780394725765

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Dancing Bear

James Crumley æ 2 Summary

Y worth the large fee just to satisfy this old woman's curiosity But things are soon exploding all over the place and Milo is turning up grenades machine guns a kilo of marijuana and a bag of coke   and suddenly Milo is on the r. Classic tough guy detectives drink a fair amount and so does our hero here Milo Milodragovitch knows all too well that he is an alcoholic He’s trying to control the problem by drinking only peppermint schnapps hoping that its awful taste will keep his intake down But alcohol is not the only drug that Milo also takes an interest in The character of the detective hero has evolved a little by the time we get to the eighties From the early days here is Raymond Chandler’s character Philip Marlowe commenting on a potential client’s mansion at the start of Farewell My Lovely The house itself wasn’t much it was smaller than Buckingham Palace and probably had fewer windows than the Chrysler Building Forty odd years later the hero of Dancing Bear also visits a client’s homeThe solarium was even larger than it looked from the streetsunlight flooded the huge room through three walls of French doors and two huge skylights; so much light so suddenly that I seemed not only blinded but deafened tooAn array of Oriental throw rugs broke up some of the light as it reflected off the pale oak flooring but most of sunlight glanced off the floor and plunged like tiny knives into my already bleary eyes I had done either too much coke or too little a constant problem in my lifeTiny knives notwithstanding our hero is offered a job a simple matter that promises a generous fee for a few days of easy work Milo is an ex policeman who was fired from the force; but unlike most of the detective heroes we have nowadays he has had little success on his own Milo is in fact working as a security guard perhaps the lowest form of life in the detective novel world All the reason for him to accept this new job offer His understanding boss allows him a leave of absence so he can go private for a few days As it happens Milo’s client hasn’t told him the whole story not even close In fact Milo probably should have been suspicious should have known it wouldn’t be so easy Other modern detectives might have asked uestions might never have taken the job Milo though is a sentimentalist and a sucker for a pretty face and figure He is also a drunk; good judgment is not his strong suit The plot of Dancing Bear is hectic and a little confused touching on toxic waste poaching drug smuggling and uite a bit It features numerous costume changes and lots of long distance driving in a succession of rented cars But plots per se don’t matter all that much in noir detective stories They’re just convenient racks upon which to hang the important stuff the characters the places and the voice And that’s exactly where Crumley shines Dancing Bear is set mostly in Montana and centers on the fictional town of Meriwether which seems likely to be modeled on Missoula But as I said there’s a lot of traveling involved from Elk City Idaho to Butte Montana to Seattle And wherever we go there is a tremendous authenticity of place It’s wintertime up here in the north dark and bitter cold with lots of trees Milo hasn’t had much success as defined by civilization; it is he of course who is the bear uncomfortable and only half alive in the city When Milo runs into trouble he flees deep into the forest where the bear is competent and powerful Similarly when Crumley runs into trouble resolving his plot he simplifies things by taking the action to some cabin far away from town I can’t help comparing Dancing Bear to the classic Brit

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Detective Milo Dragovitch spends too much time boozing until he gets caught up in a case involving two bit criminals and an old lady on the runHis friends call him Milo No one has ever called him Bud except his father long dead a. After the first two books Crumley's Milodragovitch series appears to be the most underated noir series of all time Dancing Bear is absolutely brilliant the prose and the atmosphere is unparalleled but it is probably not meant for mass consumption Ironically Christmas is probably the worst time to read it It stands against everything that Christmas celebrates hope happiness human defencyCrumley has never been about plot and though this one is his best one yet it is still not without holes and coincidences Milo has made some changes after the events of The Wrong Case He has substituted booze with cocaine and he is a security guard instead of a PI So he stays stoned longer and works less That ratio was skewed in the wrong direction to an alarming degree in the first book To get lower than that is an achievement in itself His father's old mistress asks him to follow a stranger which gets Milo involved with a bunch of really nasty guys The overall narrative is not that important The plot is about great individual scenes The setting is sadder than a two dollar whore's diary and sordid than a child's cry that has not eaten for days The situations however are absurdly funny and completely ridiculous This dichotomy creates a sort of surreal atmosphere as if the story is a drunkard's retelling of factsFor example Milo goes on a stakeout and gets mistaken for a TV repairman by a curmudgeon Milo later recruits him to spy on killers Milo takes Simmons as backup who is a bigger junkie than him There are crazier diversions when Milo becomes a drug dealer and when Milo tries to drink himself to death Sounds like a shit book Right But take my word for it Crumley makes it work at least tonallyThe women characters are problematic All of them are sexpots and all of them sleep with Milo at the drop of a hat There is a genuine in story reason for that so I will let it skate While this will be a shameless male wish fulfillment fantasy elsewhere that is not the case here because of lines like this Ignorance might not be bliss but too often knowledge took the fun out of some part of life Milo's words after he sleeps with a man's wife who is madly in love with her Then this one Nothing to do with love or sex or even comfort but two frightened befuddled animals seeking a warm place to weep I have read tragic books but nothing that treats hopelessness in such a matter of fact way It is sad because Milo is never going to change and hopeless because he will never bother to try The healthy dose of black humor still works which shows how good Crumley isMilo is the perfect protagonist for the story He has only two emotions reserved for himself contempt and self pity Hold a gun to his head and tell him to come up with just one reason to keep himself alive he will still be blank This is not really a book for happy people However if you are a full time underachiever or someone who does his drinking alone and in excess then you might find Crumley knows you better than your shrink or spiritual leader The only artist as uniue as Crumley might be Tom Waits neither of them are conventional but both undoubtedly possess a hint of the genius At times Dancing Bear does not even feel like a crime story It is a farce where we see a man self destruct where the journey is as funny as it is bleak Will it work for most people Hell no For me it was one of the best books of the year Rating 55Some motivation for wrist slitting

Review Dancing Bear

Nd now Sarah Weddington stirring painful memoires and offering him his first case since he abandoned his private practice and took a job marking time on the night shift for Haliburton Security The case seems almost too easy hardl. 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 accurateLike 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 itBut 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 convoluted But it’s fun from start to finish And it says a lot about what war does to the human conditionI’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


About the Author: James Crumley

James Arthur Crumley was the author of violent hardboiled crime novels and several volumes of short stories and essays as well as published and unpublished screenplays He has been described as one of modern crime writing's best practitioners who was a patron saint of the post Vietnam private eye noveland a cross between Raymond Chandler and Hunter S ThompsonHis book The Last Good Kiss has