As Raymond Chandler once wrote “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid.” It is the early 1950’s and Philip Marlowe is back walking the mean streets of Bay City, California. Benjamin Black (aka John Banville) is guiding the quintessential P.I. through a dangerous case involving a seductive young heiress, the black-eyed blonde. She hires him to find her former lover Nico Peterson. We know that the case is not going to be a simple search for a lover gone missing. As Marlowe begins his search, he starts to grasp how far the heiress and her rich Bay City family will go to protect their interests. Full of plot twists to satisfy the most discerning mystery reader, The Black-Eyed Blonde is a sharp, somewhat melancholy, yet compelling novel. To continue in Raymond Chandler’s words “The detective must be a complete man and a common man and yet an unusual man. He must be, to use a rather weathered phrase, a man of honor.” Benjamin Black’s Marlowe fits the bill. –Linda
— From Linda's Latest List
“In well-written noir, each sentence feels like a story unto itself and strung together those sentences form a book that feels somehow 'more' than any other out there. The Black-Eyed Blonde is such a book. Black manages to mimic the style of one of the best-known authors of the 20th century while still keeping a distinct voice. Raymond Chandler fans will be happy to see Phillip Marlowe back roaming the mean streets of L.A. There's a sultry femme fatale, a sinister philanthropist, and plenty of punches thrown, pistols whipped, and suits ruined. The Black-Eyed Blonde is a tall drink of whiskey, and I enjoyed every drop!”
— Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
"SOMEWHERE RAYMOND CHANDLER IS SMILING . . . I LOVED THIS BOOK. IT WAS LIKE HAVING AN OLD FRIEND, ONE YOU ASSUMED WAS DEAD, WALK INTO THE ROOM."--Stephen King
"It was one of those summer Tuesday afternoons when you begin to wonder if the earth has stopped revolving." So begins a new novel featuring Philip Marlowe--yes, that Philip Marlowe. Channeling Raymond Chandler, Benjamin Black has brought Marlowe back to life for a new adventure on the mean streets of Bay City, California. It is the early 1950s, Marlowe is as restless and lonely as ever, and business is a little slow. Then a new client is shown in: blond, beautiful, and expensively dressed, she wants Marlowe to find her former lover. Almost immediately, Marlowe discovers that the man's disappearance is merely the first in a series of bewildering events, and soon he is tangling with one of Bay City's richest--and most ruthless--families.
Only Benjamin Black, a modern master of the genre, could write a new Philip Marlowe novel that has all the panache and charm of the originals while delivering a story that is as sharp and fresh as today's best crime fiction.