Keith Staskiewicz
March 12, 2014 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Black-Eyed Blonde

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Benjamin Black
publisher
Henry Holt and Company
genre
Mystery and Thriller

We gave it an A-

Raymond Chandler could write some mean prose, the kind that hits like a highball and can knock you off your feet even when you’re sitting down. Imitations always run the risk of coming off as a bad parody — like, say, that last sentence. But Black (a.k.a. novelist John Banville) has revived Chandler’s legendary PI Philip Marlowe in a new adventure that reads almost as well as the real thing. A perfume heiress hires the shamus to investigate the disappearance of her lover, and the mystery soon opens up under him like a sinkhole. It’s not just literary ventriloquism: Black manages to nail not only Marlowe’s voice, but his soul. A-

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