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The Black Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel (Philip Marlowe Series Book 10)

The Black Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel (Philip Marlowe Series Book 10) [Kindle Edition]

Benjamin Black
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Somewhere Raymond Chandler is smiling, because this is a beautifully rendered hardboiled novel that echoes Chandler's melancholy at perfect pitch. The story is great, but what amazed me is how John Banville caught the cumulative effect Chandler's prose had on readers. It's hard to quantify, but it's also what separated the Marlowe novels from the general run of noir (which included some damn fine novelists, like David Goodis and Jim Thompson). The sadness runs deep. I loved this book. It was like having an old friend, one you assumed was dead, walk into the room. Kind of like Terry Lennox, hiding behind those drapes. (Stephen King)

Banville channeling Chandler is irresistible-a double whammy of a mystery. Hard to think anyone could add to Chandler with profitable results. But Banville most definitely gets it done. (Richard Ford)

John Banville's convincing imitation of Raymond Chandler's literary detective brings to mind an older Humphrey Bogart . . . The plot, though new, follows the master's hand . . . The Irish understudy takes on Chandler's habits convincingly . . .What Banville, through Black, brings to Chandler is perhaps an enhanced literary sensibility. His Marlowe is alert to nuances of language. (Mark Lawson Guardian)

The Black-Eyed Blonde includes winks and nods to ardent Chandler fans, but the book will work as first-rate noir for anyone . . . It's remarkable how fresh this book feels while still hewing close to the material on which it's based. The ill-fated Robert B. Parker experiment with Marlowe, "Poodle Springs," did entrust the Chandler legacy to a pro, but not the right one. Now to find a writer whose affinity for the genre has been so well established? And who seemed to be channeling Chandler even before he was asked to, while still maintaining a very identifiable, charismatic voice of his own? It's almost too good to be true. (New York Times)

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. (Entertainment Weekly)

When I heard that Benjamin Black, aka the Man Booker-winner John Banville, had taken on the job, I felt the Chandler estate had plumped for the right man. Like Chandler, Banville sweats over his sentences. And although the avowed model for Banville/Black's crime fiction is Simenon, there is a great deal of Marlowe in his lonely, quixotic protagonist Quirke . . . The plot is dead right, and the voice is spot on too . . . that this novel is so enjoyable is a testament to the effectiveness of the formula that Chandler laboured so hard to perfect. (Daily Telegraph)

You might well be suspicious of the current trend for posthumous piggy-backing and I wouldn't blame you. But this one is the real deal, as sweet and bitter as the perfectly mixed gimlet . . . It takes a brilliant writer to make such an unreal character real: Chandler was and Banville is. It's a perfect match . . . Perhaps Chandler could have written a better Marlowe novel, but I can't think of anyone else who could. (Scotland on Sunday)

'Benjamin Black, author of the Quirke series of crime novels set in Dublin in the Fifties - aka Man Booker Prize-winning John Banville - reveals a knack for channelling the grand master of noir. . . Black ticks all the boxes - a man with a gun in his hand comes through the door more than once - and the set-pieces, which include an interview with a starlet on a back-lot and a visit to a creepy, swanky country club staffed by oddballs, are magnificent . . . More, please' (Evening Standard)

Banville lets us know from the very start of The Black-Eyed Blonde that we are in the safest of hands here . . . Banville has largely perfected Chandler's much-mimicked, seldom-bettered knack for similes and one-liners. Best of all, though, he conjures the world-weary loneliness of Chandler's creation, a character who, in just seven novels, the world saw far too little of. Banville/Black clearly loves writing this and the fun he's having - his affection for Chandler's world - shines through. An exceptionally effective act of literary ventriloquism and entirely irresistible. (Observer)

If anything, oddly, the book is probably better than an actual Chandler: more coherent, and more consistent, more careful. Banville is simply a more elegant writer. Chandler was a metaphorical rogue trader; Banville is a class act . . . This is perfect Mr Banville. (New Statesman)

Product Description

Maybe it was time I forgot about Nico Peterson, and his sister, and the Cahuilla Club, and Clare Cavendish. Clare? The rest would be easy to put out of my mind, but not the black-eyed blonde . . .

It is the early 1950s. In Los Angeles, Private Detective Philip Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client arrives: young, beautiful, and expensively dressed, Clare Cavendish wants Marlowe to find her former lover, a man named Nico Peterson. Soon Marlowe will find himself not only under the spell of the Black-Eyed Blonde; but tangling with one of Bay City’s richest families – and developing a singular appreciation for how far they will go to protect their fortune . . .

In this gripping and deeply evocative crime novel, Benjamin Black returns us to the dark, mesmerising world of Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye and his singular detective Philip Marlowe; one of the most iconic and enduringly popular detectives in crime fiction.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 511 KB
  • Print Length: 300 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1447238044
  • Publisher: Mantle (27 Feb 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,150 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Benjamin Black's (actually Booker Prize Winner, John Banville's) latest novel is one for those who, like he, we presume, have loved Chandler's detective hero and his world and thirst for more.

In this it follows a current trend with new Bond novels from the likes of Sebastian Faulks and William Boyd, new 'official' Holmes from Anthony Horowitz and a forthcoming new Poirot from Sophie Hannah. Where this book parts company from those is that whilst those books are written for an audience that enjoyed the originals, but does not require you to have read any specific story from the original canon, this is effectively a sequel to 'The Long Goodbye'. Do not read this book if you haven't read that. Not only does the action follow on from that book, there are frequent references to the characters and plot of that novel. If you have yet to read one of the best detective stories of its type, you don't want to spoil it by reading this first.

With any new story of this kind there are effectively two important questions: how well does it capture the tone and feel of the originals and how well does the story stand up on its own terms? Black's book manages both very well, if not exceptionally.

The use of language is strongly reminiscent of Chandler: amused, wry, literary and with a good eye for a cutting detail. His description of the powerful heat of an L.A. summer captures a lot of the hardboiled but intelligent style Chandler created-
'The sun wasn't getting any cooler . I took out a handkerchief and swabbed the back of my neck. There were days in high summer when the sun works on you like a gorilla peeling a banana.
'"Well, thanks anyway," I said and stepped past him. The air rippled above the roof of my car.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FOR LOVERS OF NOIR 27 Feb 2014
By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Raymond Chandler's incomparable private eye Philip Marlowe is back and Benjamin Black, one of crime fiction's master provocateurs, is the man responsible. In a sequel that almost equals the original, he adroitly and convincingly picks up where Chandler left off in THE LONG GOODBYE to give us THE BLACK-EYED BLOND, a tale of the seductive young heiress who hires Marlowe to locate a missing man she says is a former lover. The man in question was supposedly killed in a hit and run several months earlier, but the lady insists that during her recent trip to San Francisco she saw him crossing the street.

Thus Marlowe, a smart guy with unyielding integrity, finds himself embroiled in a difficult and dangerous case as he travels the mean streets of L.A. in search of answers. I won't even attempt to summarize the plot -you will just have to read through it as Black's descriptive prose and his believable characters, whether it's a British millionaire named Canning who casually has folks brutally tortured and murdered or the very captivating blond beauty named Clare who has an agenda of her own, takes you through the twists and turns of the tale.

Set in the `50's, this noir adventure brings to life not the Robert Mitchum or Humphrey Bogart versions (or even the dismal Eliot Gould version) of Marlow but more an amalgam of the Dick Powell/James Garner portrayals. This Marlowe is lonely, witty, relentless and easily charmed by a beautiful dame.

Raymond Chandler's stylistic influence is definitely present in Black's rendition of the hard boiled school of noir detective fiction but this Marlowe is definitely more Benjamin Black than Raymond Chandler.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER
First Sentence: It was one of those Tuesday afternoons in summer when you wonder if the earth has stopped revolving.

PI Phillip Marlow is hired by the lovely and, apparently, wealthy Claire Cavendish to locate her former lover. Marlow quickly learns the man was killed in a hit-and-run; news it seems Mrs. Cavandish already knew. Yet she claims to have seen him alive in San Francisco. Marlow runs into one unexpected event after another in his search to find out what is really going on.

At the very beginning, the author’s voice makes you smile. Black does try to capture the feel of the Golden Age authors but it just never quite rings true. There are cracks in the veneer. Although Black uses terms that are not politically correct for today, they also weren’t accurate for the period. There were small details that were off—straight skirts weren’t called “pencil” skirts in the 50s. Some of the descriptions in the beginning weren’t bad…”That smile: it was like something she had set a match to a long time ago and then left to smolder on by itself…” but they soon disappeared. It was also painfully clear that this was not written by an American, and certainly not someone who lived and breathed the area as Chandler had done.

Black does capture a bit of Chandler’s dry, ironic voice…””Someone like who?” He seemed to wince; it was probably my grammar.”

The plot’s not bad and there were good surprises, good lines…”The world, when you come down to it, is a scary place…”, but the further one reads, the more it turns from gold, to gold gilt, to brass, to lead, and becomes almost uncomfortable to read.

“The Black-Eyed Blond” might be a decent read for those who’ve not read the classics. However, to those who have, it really doesn’t hold together.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Stick to the real Raymond Chandler
Light years from the real one. It didn't sound like Marlowe... The plot was lousy and the author tried to revive the character with references to the other books.
Published 1 day ago by TTT
3.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautifully written sequel to Raymond Chandler's Marlowe...
This is a beautifully written sequel to Raymond Chandler's Marlowe detective. The title
was taken from Chandler's notes after he died and Black has worked from that starting... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Bertha Barlow
3.0 out of 5 stars not a patch on Chandler
It's not bad but not a patch on Chandler, but I enjoyed the book even though Marlowe wasn't convincing enough
Published 21 days ago by Farmer Giles
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
I dont think this book was as good as the other novels he has written.
Published 1 month ago by R R M-C
3.0 out of 5 stars Above average but lost realism with Marlow's relationship with the...
His involvement with the "Black eyed Blonde" was unbelievable, the book would have been more realistic if she had remained an unattainable fantasy.
Published 1 month ago by William Bartram
2.0 out of 5 stars For anyone searching for a perfect recreation of the hard-boiled...
It's the voice that spoils it. A politically correct 21st century liberal let loose in the nineteen fifties. Imagine Nick Clegg in a trilby. Read more
Published 2 months ago by d.j.lewis
4.0 out of 5 stars Chandler lives again
Benjamin black successfully brings to life Phillip Marlowe in convincing Chandler style. A thoroughly entertaining and satisfying read for fans.
Published 2 months ago by Mr. N. J. Ryalls
2.0 out of 5 stars Being a poor imitation of the real thing is distracting
I agree with the other two star reviews. I have failed even to finish the book. I was not engaged. Being a poor imitation of the real thing is distracting. Read more
Published 3 months ago by dbass51
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Phillip Marlow
Very Good, but not quite as good as Chandler. Still very enjoyable hope he writes some more
Published 3 months ago by Mr. S. Ward
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice try but no cigar
Like a lot of other reviewers have said, a good try but falls short. The characterisations are admirable but the plot doesn't really get going; seems like the author spent too much... Read more
Published 3 months ago by seeker
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