5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An unfinished work - beware.
, 12 Jun. 2010
This review is from: Playback (Paperback)
Nowhere in this edition of Playback does it say what it should: that this is an unfinished piece of work.
I understand it was published before Chandler's death, and was therefore considered complete by the author, but Playback is nowhere near the standard Chandler sets in his previous six Marlowe novels.
The writing is lightweight and weak - almost a reversion to the Black Mask pulp fiction Chandler wrote in the 1930s. He struggles to find a place for Marlowe in the late 1950s - the formerly chaste knight is suddenly Don Draper on heat. And the denouement is ridiculous in the extreme, not least because it flagrantly contradicts the perfect ending of the Long Goodbye. It's almost like reading a humourless pastiche of Chandler rather than the real deal.
Possibly the only highlight of this book for me was reading the line "he draws a lot of water in this town", which is liberated and used in the Coen Brothers' film The Big Lebowski (as is the brother shamus Marlowe saves towards the end).
For anyone wanting more Chandler after reading The Long Goodbye, I'd point them towards Robert Altman's early-70s Hollywood take on the novel, which sends Marlowe up brilliantly. In Playback, Chandler does it unintentionally by putting out a pot-boiler that doesn't deserve his name on the cover - or Marlowe's name after it.
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