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James Crumley Books In Order

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Publication Order of Milo Milodragovitch Books

The Wrong Case (1975)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dancing Bear (1983)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Final Country (2001)Description / Buy at Amazon

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

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

One to Count Cadence (1969)Description / Buy at Amazon
Whores (1988)Description / Buy at Amazon
Muddy Fork & Other Things (1991)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Murder For Love(1996)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 1997(1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Putt at the End of the World(2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Mysterious Press Anniversary Anthology: Celebrating 25 Years(2001)Description / Buy at Amazon
Measures of Poison(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Best American Mystery Stories 2003(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Contrappasso Magazine, Issue 1(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
Books to Die For(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

James Crumley is an American author of violent fiction. He specialized in hardboiled crime fiction novels but also penned several volumes of essays and short stories in addition to several published as well as unpublished screenplays.

Born in Three Rivers, Texas in 1939, he grew up in Texas. His father worked as a supervisor in the oil fields and his mother worked as a waitress. In high school, he was an excellent student and played football. Later he got a scholarship from the Navy ROTC to go to the Georgia Institute of Technology. He served in the Army from 1958 to 1961.

Crumley attended the Texas College of Arts and Industries thanks to the help of a scholarship for football. He majored in history and graduated with a B.A. degree in history in 1964. He also went to the University of Iowa and received an M.F.A. in creative writing in 1966.

Even though he majored in fiction, as a matter of actual fact, he had not read any detective fiction in real life until his friend Richard Hugo advised his friend to read Raymond Chandler, thinking that his pal would be impressed. Crumley finally picked up one of his books while in Mexico and Crumley was impressed with the quality of Chandler’s writing. He was inspired to write his own detective novel. Crumley’s first novel was published in 1975 in the detective genre and was titled The Wrong Case.

James Crumley also went to the University of Montana in Missoula and served as part of the English faculty and was the visiting professor at many other colleges.He also lived in Missoula for some time and there he actually found inspiration at a bar to write some of his novels. Crumley was a regular at the bar and many of his friends ended up being channeled into characters in his books.

Crumley has been called one of the best practitioners when it comes to modern crime writing. Of James Crumley, he has been described as a major definer and ‘the patron saint’ of the private eye novel when it comes to post-Vietnam. In addition, his novel The Last Good Kiss has been called the “most influential crime novel” to come out in the past fifty years.

James Crumley has been well-received both by the literary community and his peers. However, even though he received due praise from his fellow authors, the sales of his books did not always match what they were on the international level. In fact, up until about the year 1990, Crumley’s novels were selling more in France and in Japan than they were in his home country of the United States. Even though his books never quite reached those soaring sales, he was and is highly revered in the literary community.

His first book to be published was a Vietnam War novel called One to Count Cadence and it was published in 1969 and it was actually based on his master’s thesis. Crumley passed away in 2008 on September 17th at the St. Patrick Hospital in Montana. After years of problems with his health, the author ended up passing due to complications resulting from pulmonary and kidney diseases. He left behind his artistic wife Martha Elizabeth. The pair were married for sixteen years and it was his fifth marriage. Crumley was the father of five children in total, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren at the time of his passing.

He is the author of the Milton Chester Milodragovitch series, which has three books in it. He is also the author of all four books in the C.W. Sughrue series. He has written many standalone novels; four in total. The last to be published was Muddy Fork and Other Things in 1991. His works were also featured the same year in The Collection. His work was featured in the 2000 collection The Putt at the End of the World. He was nominated for a Dagger Award for Best Novel when it comes to his novel The Final Country in 2002.

The Wrong Case is the first novel in the Milodragovitch series and it was published in 1975. It features the main character of Milton Chester Milodragovitch, who is called Milo for short. He used to run a business that handled divorce cases. It used to thrive in its small town settled in the Northwest of the Pacific. But then when new divorce laws came into effect, he ended up drinking more than he did working. Daydreaming, his alcohol intake had gotten a bit out of control and he is constantly having a drink it seems.

One day, Milo is having his third drink and it’s not even into the afternoon yet. But then a very attractive woman comes into his office and she has a case for him. She wants him to find her brother and while Milo has his doubts, he’s also an alcoholic detective that should take any case he can get in the current economic climate. So he decides to take on the case.

It all seems fairly basic and straight-forward at first. Just another missing person case that should be pretty open and shut. Milo is working on finding the sibling of the girl, but he also took the case in order to try and get to know more about her. But he regrets taking on the case when it starts to be more than he can handle. As a crime long past still has waves in the present, Milo must try to find the brother and win the dame’s heart without becoming a victim too. Pick up The Wrong Case to see how this exciting detective novel ends!

Dancing Bear is the second novel in the series and was published in 1983. Detective Milo is still boozing it up, but when he comes into a case with an elderly lady on the run and some small-time criminals, a lot of things about this case bring up memories. Painful memories that he’d rather leave in the past of his late father and Sarah Weddington. But it’s his first case out of private practice and so he is working the night shift for security. It’s an easy case with a huge fee, so why not take it?

But no sooner does he take on the case than things get out of hand. With grenades being thrown left and right, machine guns coming into the mix, and pot and cocaine being involved, he suddenly has to go on the lam. But can he solve the case? Pick up this book to find out!

Book Series In Order » Authors » James Crumley

One Response to “James Crumley”

  1. Frank McNally: 12 months ago

    Jim Crumley was my first instructor in Creative Writing, at Colorado State 1971/2. At the time I was unsure of what I wanted to do–outside of write something worthwhile. He liked my stories, and gave me a long list of books to read, which I did, prior to leaving for the Univ. of MN English Dept. At the time, he had not gotten into the Detective Genre and his major opus was One to Count Cadence. But because of that list of books he gave me, which were not mainstream, turned my life around a lot. Thanks, bud! You should have hung out at Buckskin’s little bar in Ucross, WY though. There you would have probably written a lot more.


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