Read The Last Good Kiss Online

Authors: James Crumley

Tags: #Fiction, #Mystery, #CS, #ST

The Last Good Kiss

BOOK: The Last Good Kiss
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"THIS IS UP

THERE WITH THE BEST!"

-People Magazine

"H1zen !finally caught up with Abraham

Trahearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic

bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle

joint just outside ofSonoma, California, drinking the

heart out of a fine spring afternoon ... "

That's how Detective C. W Sughrue ended one

search and began another-a search for a girl in

a dog-eared photo, ten years lost and gone. Now

Sughrue has finally hit the big time, hunting down

Betty Sue Flowers, the barmaid's beautiful

daughter-whose path takes him careening from

Frisco's tenderloin to a Denver jail, from an

Oregon commune to an unmarked grave to the

middle of a pornographic nightmare ...

passing the time with a boozing poet and

a willing woman or two.

Who, what, and where is Betty Sue Flowers? ...

Ask the men who knew her, but never well

enough ... ask the mobster who wants her dead ...

the friend who says she is ... But don't ask Sughrue

-who's putting his life on the line for87 bucks

and a passionate obsession for a girl

in a dog-eared photo.

"What Chandler did for Los Angeles

in the Thirties, James Crumley does for

the roadside West of today."

ISBN D-671-82813-4

IAIIES CIUEEY

PUBLISHED BY POCKET BOOKS NEW YORK

The lines from "Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg" are reprinted from The Lady in Kicking Horse Reservoir by Richard Hugo with the permission of W. W. Norton & Company, Inc. copyright© 1973 by Richard Hugo.

POCKE T BOOKS, a Simon & Schuster division of

GULF & WESTERN CORPORATION

1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, N.Y. 10020

Copyright© 1978 by James Crumley

Published by arrangement with Random House, Inc.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 77-90286

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce

this book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.

For information address Random House, Inc., 201 East

50th Street, N.Y. 10022

ISBN: 0-671-82813-4

First Pocket Books printing January, 1981

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

POCKET and colophon are trademarks of Simon & Schuster.

Printed in the U.S.A.

for Dick Hugo,

grand old detective of the heart

You might come here Sunday on a whim.

Say your life broke down. The last good kiss

you had was years ago. You walk these streets

laid out by the insane, past hotels

that didn't last, bars that did, the tortured try

of local drivers to accelerate their lives.

Only churches are kept up. The jail

turned 70 this year. The only prisoner

is always in, not knowing what he's done . . .

-Richard Hugo, Degrees of Gray in Philipsburg

1 ••••

WHEN I FINALLY CAUGHT UP WITH ABRAHAM TRAhearne, he was drinking beer with an alcoholic bulldog named Fireball Roberts in a ramshackle joint just

outside of Sonoma, California, drinking the heart right

out of a fine spring afternoon.

Trahearne had been on this wandering binge for

nearly three weeks, and the big man, dressed in

rumpled khakies, looked like an old soldier after a long

campaign, sipping slow beers to wash the taste of death

out of his mouth. The dog slumped on the stool beside

him like a tired little buddy, only raising his head

occasionally for a taste of beer from a dirty ashtray set

on the bar.

Neither of them bothered to glance at me as I slipped

onto a stool between the bulldog and the only other two

customers in the place, two out-of-work shade-tree

mechanics who were discussing their lost unemployment checks, their latest DWI conviction, and the probable location of a 1957 Chevy timing chain. Their

knotty faces and nasal accents belonged to another

BOOK: The Last Good Kiss
3.3Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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