Summary and book reviews of The Final Country by James Crumley

The Final Country

A Milo Milodragovitch Novel

by James Crumley

The Final Country by James Crumley X
The Final Country by James Crumley
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2001, 320 pages
    Nov 2002, 320 pages


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Book Summary

A rampage of duplicity, blackmail, murder and revenge rollicks through the wild and wicked terrain that is vintage Crumley territory.

Texas is no place for tears. And Milo couldn't shed them if he tried. Bored with life, failing at his relationship, and running a tavern whose real business is cleaning dirty money, Milo aches for a change. Then he collides with a tall black man holding a Desert Eagle .50 who has just killed a drug dealer.

The gunman is good enough to buy Milo a stiff drink, then quickly disappears. Insisting that Milo help them run the towering man down, the cops are prepared to let the State of Texas put a needle in the shooter's arm. Milo doesn't want that to happen, so he had better find the fugitive first. But before he can take one step, he's hit by a wall of Texas voodoo.

Now Milo is free-falling into another country, a land of big money and small armies of corruption, of crooked politicians and two women willing to share their lust with a private eye with a bad back. By the time he knows the players and the plays, he's spit straight out of Texas, driving back to Montana for a meeting with a big man carrying a big gun—and a rendezvous with the most beautiful woman who has ever taken Milo for a ride.

A rampage of duplicity, blackmail, murder, and revenge, The Final Country rollicks through the wild and wicked terrain that is vintage Crumley territory.

IT WAS LATE NOVEMBER on the edge of the Hill Country, but I had learned very quickly that down here nothing was ever quite what it seemed. As I drove through northwest Austin that day, it might as well have been spring. The thin leaves of the pecan trees hadn't turned. People still mowed their lawns in T-shirts and shorts. Or in this upscale neighborhood, watched various illegal aliens hustle like dung beetles back and forth across the thick St. Augustine lawns through scattershot swarms of gnats. Overhead a brilliant afternoon sun floated in the rich blue sky polished cloudless by the soft southeastern breezes. A single buzzard overhead seemed to be keeping a weathered eye on things. Winter seemed a distant promise, bound to be broken.

Back home in Montana fall already would be hard upon the land, a thick mantle of snow draped across the peaks and high ridges around the Meriwether Valley, the cottonwood branches fingerbone bare, the western larch golden among the dark pines, and ...

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Media Reviews

Library Journal
Even Crumley's reliably sharp writing can't save this novel from its unlikable hero and convoluted plot. P.I. Milo Milodragovitch.... not only is his sex-and-drug lifestyle unbelievable but it quickly becomes monotonous. This is certainly not one of Crumley's better efforts. Still, his wit, his descriptions of the Texas landscape, and the prose in general an excellent example of classic hard-boiled fiction make it worth consideration.

Kirkus Reviews
Evil just exists, pontificates Milo, in the act of slowly, savagely torturing someone to death. I could only hope it wouldn't infect me. Forget it, Milo. Your only hope is if they call off Judgment Day.

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Energetic, poetic, violent and extremely funny....Plot twists and details seem loose and easy, yet every thread is sewn tight as a hardball. A brilliant achievement.

Author Blurb Les Standiford, author of Deal With The Dead
The Final Country is a James Crumley classic a high-octane, high-body count road-trip that crisscrosses an American West where the women are as tough as they are drop-dead gorgeous and the roadside attractions will stand your hair on end, if they don't kill you first. The mayhem is awesome and the political skullduggery deliciously vile, but PI Milo Milodragovtich's most formidable enemy may be his resolutely ungovernable heart; his quest for decency in an indecent world is by turns provocative, breathtaking, and profound. Crumley, who redefined the genre with The Last Good Kiss, has nailed it once again. He is not just one of our finest crime and mystery writers; he is one of our finest writers, period.

Author Blurb George P. Pelecanos, author of Right As Rain
James Crumley, the leather-tough poet of the crime novel, is back with The Final Country, and it has been worth the wait. Road-ready, wry, lyrical and explosive, this is Crumley at his best, which means it is one of the best books of its kind you will ever read.

Author Blurb William Kittredge, author of The Nature of Generosity
James Crumley is the inventor and presiding master of backlands western American crime fiction. His novels are made of pure lovely prose and seem driven by outrageous redneck talk and conduct. But, it's Crumley's utter willingness to cut through the crap that makes them so valuable. The Final Country is tough, smart-assed and packed with heartbreaking wisdom about who we can become if we're not careful and true to one another. Be good to yourself. Stay home tonight and read some Crumley.

Author Blurb Laura Lippman, author of The Sugar House A Tess Monaghan Mystery
When young crime writers and not-so-young crime writers gather, they invariably end up making their nominations for the Hall of Fame, the ones who should be listed alongside Chandler, Macdonald and Hammett. James Crumley always makes it on the first ballot. He is simply that good, that essential. I wish he wrote more often. I wish he wrote more often about Texas, as he does in The Final Country with a keen eye and razor wit that captures everything that is brutal and beguiling about his native state. Reading this book is like drinking exceptional wine after years on cheap stuff. You start to gulp it down, greedy for the buzz, then realize you need to slow down and savor every drop. I pity people who haven't read Crumley. And I envy them, because they still have a chance to discover him.

Author Blurb Dan Flores, Hammond Professor of Western History, the University of Montana, author of Horizontal Yellow and The Natural West
Among modern writers of the American West, James Crumley is a kind of godfather for Texan writers gone expatriate to Montana. And in The Final Country, both places come under the eye of a character with razor insights. Crumley's Milo Milodragovitch is a Montana PI following a woman and god drugs to Texas, which allows Crumley the kind of cold-eyed, funny, yet poetic literary riffs for which he is justifiably famous. Human nature, especially the Lone Star variety, goes under the glass in the wild and wonderful book about what makes modern Texas tick.

Author Blurb Kinky Friedman, author of Steppin' On A Rainbow
James Crumley is an American poet. Like a true artist, he does not merely reflect our culture, he subverts it. The Final Country is simply one of the best books you can read this year.

Reader Reviews


Hailed by some as a James Crumley classic and by others as Crumley - a little past his sellby date; this is definitely not for you if your idea of a good mystery/crime novel is a plot-line that politely unravels in the vein of Elizabeth George or P.D...   Read More

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