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Impressions of the West: James Crumley


James Crumley (1940-2008) was a mystery writer of extraordinary power. In Dancing Bear, strung out investigator Milo Milodragovitch is trying to kill himself, or not, while he cruises between western Montana and Seattle trying to unravel a nearly unravel-able story of drugs, toxic waste, and Milo himself. Of Crumley’s writing abilities, Barry Hannah said it best: “Crumley works with fever on the brow, and the most lyrical and true English sentences I’ve seen lately. Dancing Bear is a wonder of compression, truth and wisdom.”

This is the first paragraph of the book:

We had been blessed with a long, easy fall for western Montana. The two light snowfalls had melted before noon, and in November we had three weeks of Indian summer so warm and seductive that even we natives seemed to forget about winter. But in the canyon of Hell Roaring Creek, where I live, when the morning breezes stirred off the stone-cold water and into the golden, dying rustle of the cottonwoods and creek willows, you could smell the sear, frozen heart of winter, February, or, as the Indians sometimes called it, the Moon of the Children Weeping in the Lodges, crying in hunger. - Dancing Bear, p. 7

Credit: Visualist Images

Credit: Roger Lynn

Available at ABEBooks

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