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C.W. Sughrue Books In Order

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Publication Order of C.W. Sughrue Books

The Last Good Kiss (1978)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mexican Tree Duck (1993)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bordersnakes (1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Right Madness (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon

C.W. Sughrue is the lead character in a series of novels written by a bestselling American author of Crime and fiction books. Sughrue is a retired military spy now working as private investigator based in Montana. James Crumley began the publication of C.W. Sughrue series in 1978 when The Last Good Kiss, the first book in the series was published.

C.W. Sughrue comprises of four original books The Right Madness (2005), The Mexican Tree Duck published in 1993, The Last Good Kiss in 1978, and Bordersnakes (1996).

The Last Good Kiss (1978)

In The Last Good Kiss the author introduces C.W. Sughrue (one of the two main characters used by Crumley), a private investigator hired to find a drunken writer on a binge. However, as soon as Sughrue sees the man in a bar in California, a fight breaks that result to the guy spending several days in the hospital. While Sughrue waits for the man to recover, the owner of the bag begins to take care of her daughter who disappeared into the San Francisco underground a decade earlier.

Sughrue reluctantly takes the job, and the drunken writer soon insists on joining him in the search for the missing girl. If only Sughrue can take overcome all the drinking, he might be lucky enough to find the missing girl.

The first book in the series is an intriguing read. James Crumley (born 1939- died 2008), was a tough guy, an army veteran and the creator of some of the bestselling crime fictions.

From the first page of the novel, the author is the best-known book featuring first-person narrator and private investor Sughrue captures readers attention to the last page.

The Mexican Tree Duck

The second book in the series opens up with Sughrue transporting his jukebox out to the train tracks with the sole purpose of watching the 3:12 train explode into million pieces.

This jukebox had provided him many hours of pure entertainment over the years and would have much more except for the tasteless man who comes around to mess the records. He had the boldness of replacing all the Hank Snow songs thus making the jukebox worthless.

One last part of the entertainment, and then he can start counting down the minutes until his heads feel like an overripe melon ready to split under the exposure of the noonday sun.

Sughrue resides in what used to be a morgue. His Vietnamese friend Solly Rainbolt owns the building and agrees him to stay there in exchange for investigative favors. Sughrue has now retired as a private investigator and works as a bartender and also own a bar.

His buddy, Norman needs Sughrue to find his mom, and so after back and forth and a few bottles of beer, he finds himself back on a case. His only clue takes him from the Texas-Mexico border, and that is when everything that seemed to make sense begins to make no sense. It doesn’t take him long to find out that mommy dearest is engaged to a Texas politician and the FBI and the drug lords are competing to finding her first. How could such a gorgeous woman be in so much trouble?

Sughrue enlists the help of some of his old friends from Vietnam who may not miss the land of Vietnam, but they do miss some form of violence and getting back in the line of duty. Sughrue finds the statue of Mexican Tree Duck which later becomes the Maltese Falcon of this narrative.

Moreover, just like in Red Harvest, a novel by Dashiell Hammett, bodies begin piling up faster simply because instead of revolver pistols everyone in this narrative has some extra firepower from power.

The author sprinkles this narrative with hardboiled dialogue that could peel wallpaper. There are wild passion scenes, double crosses and there are lots of Vietnam flashbacks. There are FBI agents, DEA agents, and other agents working for the government that we are not supposed to know they exist. Just to keep himself on the right track Sughrue is forced to keep his brain lit like a pinball machine. There are millions of reasons why Sughrue should return to Montana and probably purchase a record player and an album of Hank Snow records, but he has already been knocked out too many times, and now vengeance is riding in the sidecar with his own peculiar sensation of loyalty.


When a capricious, twist of fate foils two hired killers from snuffing out Detective Sughrue, Private Investigator Milodragovich joins Sughrue in hunting down the would-be killers. The two men “hunt” across America and Mexico on an epic journey of hardcore sex, violence, and cyberspace- a journey that traverses the volatile line between two good friends, countries, life and death.

First published- 1996, Bordersnakes is a hardboiled story such that you will need to make use of your brains to be able to explode up the insides of this sick, crystalline and a fast paced ride through Texas.

Two out of control private investigators in search of both money and vengeance cruise through this well-woven thriller sliding from one unsavory moment of drugs, sex, and ultra. Crumley writing reads like a head-on collision of Jim Thompson, and Hunter S Thompson with few shards of Thomas McGuabe and Peter Mathieson. The plot is captivating; the prose is breathtaking- a cruel text that explores the limits of what defines true friendship.

The Right Madness

James Crumley is amongst one of the respected authors of after-Chandler crime authors, acclaimed by the bestselling authors such as Michael Connelly and Dennis Lehane as a significant influence. Sughrue is finally back in a thrilling adventure of a book that Montana based private investigator is trying to figure out which of the small town shrink’s bizarre patients has made off with some highly confidential files.

The Right Madness is a fast-paced, melancholy, brutal and ruefully fun. That is how this kind of narrative goes, with it meandering, at times plot full of violence, sex, booze and healing old wounds.

If you love hard-boiled crime fiction novels, then C.W. Sughrue series by James Crumley will be an ideal read for you.

Book Series In Order » Characters » C.W. Sughrue

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