Friday, December 4, 2015
Review of The Instant Enemy by Ross Macdonald (Wm Collins, 1968)
The Instant Enemy has a little bit of everything going on in it – blackmail, murder, exploitation, deception, kidnap – yet it’s told in a measured, realistic way without descending into a breathlessly thriller. Indeed, Macdonald’s functional, sparse and clean but engaging prose adds heft to the storytelling – there’s barely a sentence that doesn’t move the story forward. The real delights of the story though are the pragmatic, no-nonsense and tenacious Lew Archer, an L.A. based P.I., and the convoluted storyline that has more twists than a slinky. The result is that sometimes it's a little tricky to follow the plot and re-align mentally how the characters and actions inter-relate as each twist occurs. Nonetheless, it's a superior P.I. tale that gets better and better as it progresses.