I have never recovered I guess from my favourite crime novel The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler. Can anyone recommend a character-driven crime novel with similar sensibilities and quality of writing?

I well understand if it doesn't exist. At least I can be glad to have had the sublime pleasure.

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Paul Levine and his series of mysteries are pretty good, too.

I guess you've read the Hammett novels - not the the same but similar as they say. Phillip Kerr's novels effect a faux Chandler style at times and are very well done.

My impression is Hammett was Chandler's largest influence, Hammett's, Hemingway.

There are certainly theamic simularities although for all I enjoy them, Hammett's work, to me at any rate, is a little contrived - The Maltese Falcon excepted. Red Harvest is almost like an expressionist novel at times.

Odd was it not - that Chandler was English for quite a bit of his life. 

Are you familiar with the Robert Altman movie? It's very controversial indeed - setting it in the 1970s and making Marlowe Jewish ruffled a few feathers. Yes, that's a problem (I have nothing whatsoever against Jews, but if a very well-known character suddenly switches race, I have trouble accepting that he's the same guy - black Sherlock Holmes, anyone?), and certain other aspects of Elliot Gould's performance are severely at odds with the book. However, it's very character-driven, and the book's only major failing - the surprisingly weak ending - is re-written the way Raymond Chandler should have done it, and probably would have if he hadn't been drunk, which by this stage in his career he almost permanently was (which is why he only wrote one more novel, and it's dreadful.)

You should probably watch this film on the basis that it's about some other bloke who is coincidentally named after a famous PI. But it does contain the very best scene showing how horribly random psychopaths are until joe Pesci suddenly wanted to know why Ray Liotta thought he was funny. And watch out for a pre-stardom Big Arnie with no lines and a mustache. Oh, and considering how hard it is to get a cat to act at all, the cat's amazingly good.

See also Kiss Me, Deadly, a terrible book made into an excellent film in which, because the director is much saner than the author, the "hero" is a horrible person, and the whole thing is a character study of fascinating but deeply flawed people. By the way, given how long ago it was made, it's almost unbelievable that a certain scene was actually filmed. Even today, that's a very nasty death. Back then, I'm pretty sure that more than one person sicked up their popcorn.

Oh, and how about Larry Blanire's very srange film noir Dark And Stormy NIght? It's a spoof, but it does include the line "I'm just shooing away the tiny invisible balloon mice." That alone justifies anything.

I think the movie is an abomination. Altman and Gould--both of whom I generally love--take s many liberties with the Marlowe character (among others), they should just have changed the title and written their own movie, much as the Coens did with THE BIG LEBOWSKI. 

You didn't like the book's ending? Given how Chandler had drawn Marlowe's character from THE BIG SLEEP on, I thought it was perfect.

It's film - not the book - you can to my mind, as a rule, merely base a film on a book. I think it's very good myself - the best adaptation. You can't do an impersonation of someone who exists on paper only you must realise the story to some extent. In LA Story you have an adaptation that leaves the book in the mire - an over clever book - a marvellous film with only the sense of the book's style and story. Books and films are different mediums.

No argument there, but the movie owes some debt to the source material, to at least try to capture its essence. The movie version of GET SHORTY is quite a bit different from the book, but it has the same attitude and makes the same points. Same goes for JAWS and THE GODFATHER. If Altman wanted to show Chandler was full of shit--which I have read was his intent--he should have come up with his own material, or at least not Chandler's.

Well I wouldn't agree - you make a film - you make your film

This thread started by asking for recommendations that would compare well to Chandler.  James Ellroy's L. A. Quartet is a must.  The four books in order are:  The Black Dahlia, The Big Sleep, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz.  You should read them in order.  His later books are an acquired taste for reason too complex to recount here.  You might enjoy the Quartet even more if you read Ellroy's biography, My Dark Places, first.  Ellroy is a very damaged person.  We are fortunate that he survived his own life to bring us these great books.

Thank you Brian, I have some Ellroy on my shelf back at home, and your post will add it to the reading tower! And I appreciate your advice to read them in order. I remember reading the first few pages of an Ellroy when they arrived from Amazon and it felt too hard/harsh for me, to hard in the type of presence writing the words. Chandler's sensibilities were I think just perfect for me if I can use such a word. I am perhaps too sensitive for Ellroy but I will give it another go.

Anything by Robert Eversz

Good to start with "Shooting Elvis" because in all the rest the noir-max paparazzi shooter Nina Zero is post-prison and estabished as hard, tough and on the scene.

But in "Elvis"  we meet her as Mary, a sweet little suburban girl who steps into trouble.  

This guy is LA noir in spades, but also much deeper in characterization and plotting that Chandler, for my money.


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