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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.

What listeners say about The Moving Target

Average Customer Ratings
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  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Classic 1949 crime drama

This is a classic crime drama from 1949. I was motivated to write this after seeing reviews from modern "woke" cult members with revisionist history views. This is about women treating men just as bad as men treat women. If you are a Karen or SoiBoi then pass on this. Other than that, you will probably like this.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great noire story!

I stumbled upon Ross Macdonald by happenstance after reading a collection of articles by Michael Connelly in which Connelly’s style of writing was said to be similar to Macdonald’s. I can state their are similarities in that both authors tell great stories and have very descriptive words to draw the reader in. I don’t think I would have enjoyed the story as much as I did if I read it as a book. The narrator has a great voice that captures that notoriety of 50’s crime stories. Just that right amount of inflection to sound genuine and not a caricature of a gum shoe noire private eye. There was a review or two the complaints that Macdonald wrote about women with a misogynistic attitude. You can see that when viewed from a 2020 viewpoint, however since this story was published in 1949 I’m sure that readers then wouldn’t have thought much about it. Macdonald’s writing style isn’t harsh on women, but he certainly doesn’t put them in a positive light either at least in this story. So if this bothers you I would pass on this story and possibly Macdonald’s work as a whole. However, if you can appreciate that the many positive changes in attitudes towards women since this story was written then you will enjoy this story for what it is, great story that keeps you interested and turning pages!!

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Retro

The depiction of women in this book is so
abhorrent that it should warn anyone off it. Story is good but if you want to know why women feel they have been treated like children read this

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

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.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Wish for a more captivating story

The book overall wasn't bad. The narrator did a great job portraying characters and keeping true to that oldschool detective vibe. I like the era the story takes place. however I personally found the story in and of itself not too interesting. I wasn't captivated by it but that was more because I personally was looking for something more sinister or gritty in a detective novel. Still I believe many will still like this, but it's a one and done for me.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

My Favorite American Noir Mystery Thus Far

The Moving Target is a really good American Noir Crime Mystery from 1949. It is set in California. The audiobook is very well read by Tom Parker. There are many very detailed descriptions of scenery which I had to either re listen to or reread on Kindle to gain the full appreciation of the writing. I have had some reader / listeners tell me they do not care about scenery. That might cause one to enjoy this audiobook less than me. I really took my time with it and really enjoyed it.

Some American Noir writers of the past use racial and gender vernacular that is now considered unacceptable. I found that most recently in a otherwise well written story by Raymond Chandler. This story under review by Ross McDonald contains less of that sort of language which also added to my personal reading pleasure.

I have been doing a wide ranging review of American Crime Noir from the 1920s, 30s, 40s and 50s. I feel this is my favorite that I have thus far read from this period. Thank You...

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

terrible

The writing is immediately racist and misogynistic, the characters are shallow. Don't bother with this book.