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Publisher's Summary

Strictly speaking, Lew Archer is only supposed to dig up the dirt on a rich man's suspicious soon-to-be son-in-law. But in no time at all, Ross Macdonald's private eye is following a trail of corpses from the citrus belt to Mazatlan. And then there is the zebra-striped hearse and its crew of beautiful, sunburned surfers, whose path seems to keep crossing the son-in-law's - and Archer's - in this powerful, fast-paced novel of murder on the California coast.
©1990 Margaret Millar Survior's Trust Fund (P)2001 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Macdonald is one of the elite in hard-boiled mystery fiction....Parker's rendition is a first-class reading." - ( AudioFile)
"A model of [Macdonald's] excellence...has character, statement, and style." ( New Yorker)
"This is hard-boiled detective writing at the top of its form." ( Library Journal)

What listeners say about The Zebra-Striped Hearse

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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Lew Archer at his best

For my money The Zebra-Striped Hearse shows Ross Macdonald at the top of his writing. The story is less violent and more psychologically-nuanced than earlier books on the series. The plot is brilliantly developed with the twists and turns needed to maintain suspense and element of surprise. The writing is both graceful and spare, perfectly capturing the essentials of the detective noir genre. My only complaint is the title which turns out to be something of a red herring -- or maybe that's entirely intentional. I won't say anything further lest I give away a spoiler alert.

5 people found this helpful

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You’re a Thoughtful Man, Mr. Archer.

My title is spoken by one of Lew Archer’s clients, and it’s spot-on. Archer is indeed a thoughtful, perceptive, and deeply moral man. Worldly wise without world weariness, he stands apart from his famous compatriots in American hardboiled fiction, the Continental Op and Philip Marlow. When a witness opines that it’s a terrible world, Archer’s sane, humane perspective permits him to agree only so far: “There are certainly terrible people in it”. It’s a vital distinction.

Ross Macdonald also stands apart from the creators of the Op and Marlow. In his hands, that stock trope of hardboiled fiction, the telling image (“He looked about as nervous as a brick wall”) can, at times, become something more searching; “Her eyes had the hardness that comes from seeing too many changes, and not being changed by them”.

Like all the Lew Archer novels, this sounds as if it had been written specifically for Tom Parker (aka Grover Gardener) to read. Or else he reads it as if it had been written specifically for him. Either way, the result is pretty near perfect.

1 person found this helpful

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Love & Money

I think I'm in love with Lew Archer. Like others in the series, Lew is hired to check the history of a military man's future son-in-laws past. This leads to three previous murders and a boat load of suspects. As always, Lew solves the riddle.

1 person found this helpful

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His Best?

I have read all of Ross Macdonald’s books. The Zebra-striped Hearse is my favorite.

1 person found this helpful

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Great noir mystery/procedural

Loved this! Kind of a slow build procedural at first, and it keeps the detective and reader guessing through the first two thirds. last thirds still has plenty of twists and red herrings to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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A Great Series & an Addition with Plenty of Twists

This story provides all that you would hope for in its genre and adds some great twists. By the time it wraps up you're not left in confusion, the pieces all fit.

1 person found this helpful

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Enjoyed it

Good story, excellent narrator. I had a little trouble following it, especially with all the different characters, so by the end I had almost completely given up on trying to guess the culprit and was just along for the ride! It was still enjoyable. My first Lew Archer novel, and the first detective story I've listened to. The story is captivating, and it picks up and slows down pretty well, keeping you interested throughout.

Tom Parker was excellent. Perfect for this kind of book. If I had tried to imagine the voice of a tough, private detective, I would have thought of exactly his voice in this narration. I really liked this book and will look for more by Ross Macdonald and/or Tom Parker.

1 person found this helpful