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Publisher's Summary

Like many Southern California millionaires, Ralph Sampson keeps odd company. There's the sun-worshiping holy man whom Sampson once gave his very own mountain, and the fading actress with sidelines in astrology and S&M. Now, one of Sampson's friends may have arranged his kidnapping.

As private eye Lew Archer follows the clues from the canyon sanctuaries of the megarich to jazz joints where you can get beaten up between sets, The Moving Target blends sex, greed, misdirected love, and family hatred into an explosive crime novel.

More mayhem? Try our other Lew Archer mysteries.

©1977 John Ross Macdonald (P)2001 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 01-03-12

A good, not great start to a terrific series.

Lew Archer is one of the great noir LA detectives. This books starts him out on his journey, seeing the corrupt moneyed culture of Los Angeles circa 1950's. He is certainly up there with Phillip Marlowe and Sam Spade (and a lot more stories). A good beginning. Well read.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A Classic Noir

Surprising in many ways. I have long enjoyed Noir Gumshoe Detective novels such as those written by Hammett and Chandler. Ross MacDonald joined their ranks for style and storytelling, the only thing missing from this first novel is the brilliant dialogue, though MacDonald has a poetic way of setting a scene.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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I loved reading Ross MacDonald

and I love listening to Tom Parker reading! the only challenge is that the plot has a lot of intertwining lines and characters that can be a little hard to follow in the audio format.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Unbearable

So.....on the good side, Tom Parker does a nice job with the narration and Ross MacDonald does a reasonable job with the scene setting, a la Raymond Chandler.

On the other side, rarely have I read a novel that is so misogynist. I can only assume that Ross MacDonald has never actually known any women or, if he has, he is terribly scarred emotionally in some way. Every last interaction with any female in his story is dripping with disgust and revulsion on the part of the protagonist. Think I'm exaggerating? Try this:

"It seemed to me then that evil was a female quality, a poison that women secreted and transmitted to men like disease."

"....her small sweatered breasts, pointed like weapons, were half impatient promise, half gradual threat."

“I opened the door of her car and helped her in. Her breast leaned against my shoulder heavily. I moved back. I preferred a less complicated kind of pillow, stuffed with feathers, not memories and frustrations.”

"An ugly woman with a gun is a terrible thing."

There is another passage which I am not going to waste my time trying to find but it involves the protagonist looking a young woman up and down, grabbing her and kissing her like mad and, of course, her melting and retreating and behaving like a good little girl afterward.

It's all a bit cringe-worthy and no, it's not just because of the time period in which it was written - Chandler and Hammet never sunk to such silliness.

Maybe the future "Lew Archer" books improve but this one isn't worth the occasional pretty turn of phrase.