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Publisher's Summary

Lawrence Osborne brings one of literature's most enduring detectives back to life - as Private Investigator Philip Marlowe returns for one last adventure.

The year is 1988. The place, Baja California. And Philip Marlowe - now in his 72nd year - is living out his retirement in the terrace bar of the La Fonda hotel. Sipping margaritas, playing cards, his silver-tipped cane at the ready. When in saunter two men dressed like undertakers, with a case that has his name written all over it.   

For Marlowe, this is his last roll of the dice, his swan song. His mission is to investigate the death of Donald Zinn - who supposedly drowned off his yacht, and leaves behind a much younger and now very rich wife. But is Zinn actually alive? Are the pair living off the spoils? 

Set between the border and badlands of Mexico and California, Lawrence Osborne’s resurrection of the iconic Marlowe is an unforgettable addition to the Raymond Chandler canon.

©2018 Lawrence Osborne (P)2018 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"It's a joy to see Philip Marlowe lured back for one last job by the gleefully unsentimental Lawrence Osborne... If you like noir, pour yourself something cool and enjoy one final dark night of the soul." (Joseph Knox, author of Sirens)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Brilliant resurrection of greatest detective in US fiction

Lawrence Osborne was an excellent choice by the Chandler Foundation to resurrect Marlowe. The book succeeds at every level w a bonus of beautiful literary riffs every few pages....historically and geographically accurate...as Marlowe/Chandlers voice rings true. The eccentric gumshoe comes out of retirement in Southern CA for one last job at age 72 into a sleazy and violent world of hustlers and grifters operating on the coastal towns in Southern California and Northern Mexico. Ray Porter shines as the voice of a worldly and articulate Marlowe while deftly handling accents and pronunciations of the credible characters that appear. As a 72 year old Chandler fan who is well traveled in the Mexican locations where most of the novel’s action takes place I particular enjoyed this brilliant resurrection of my favorite private eye by one of my favorite writers.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Ray Porter is spot on!

This is great story and Ray Porter nails Philip Marlowe! I loved how they described the atmosphere of the cities on Mexican coastline.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Raleigh
  • greensboro, NC, United States
  • 09-08-18

untarnished / unafraid

does the detached, hard-boiled fiction of raymond chandler fascinate you ?
do the sun baked spaces of southern california hold a romantic allure for you ?
well, lawrence osborne's "Only to Sleep" has eloquently re-created that world for you

an honorable and lonely man is on an adventure, in search of a hidden truth
the work of an aging private investigator is the scaffold on which that adventure hangs
the tough minded detachment of our detective is both compelling and amusing

this honest and common man is an enduring modern fictional hero for a reason
as jeremiah 17:9 predicted long ago "... the heart is deceitful above all things ..."
if a new twist on that ancient saying intrigues you, then this is a book for you

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

I was excited but a little trepidatious when I found out about this book. With Ray Porter reading and the premise, it seemed promising, but taking on a literary icon can find many wanting.

In my opinion, this flows almost seamlessly from late Chandler. I got a little hung up on age (if Marlowe was 33 in 1936, how could he be 72 in 1988?) but that was really the only thing that stuck out as a raw edge. This Marlowe has seen a lot of bad things and remembers them, and while he doesn’t have the capacity for frequent work, he yearns to be useful again.

There’s something heartbreaking and haunting for me about seeing Marlowe as an old man who is now mostly memories. As a huge Chandler fan, that was a little difficult for me, but this is so well done and Ray Porter gives an excellent performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Multiple voices

Ray Porter sounds a bit like Tom Hanks. He is especially talented at reading text in multiple voices or parts. That made it easy to understand which character said what as the story unfolds. While the story is meant to be evocative of Raymond Chandler, it doesn't reach that height. However, there is a fascinating journey throughout a large part of Mexico within the story. Well, worth listening to.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful