The Big Sleep, Classic Noir

The classic, a must-read of the hard-boiled detective genre. Something missed by other reviewers is that Philip Marlowe, the main character, is the original fast-talking detective that was an important shift in protagonists, introducing elements of the anti-hero and someone who had to operate outside of the establishment so that proper justice could be done. Also important is the narrative; while first person, Marlowe is retelling the events to the audience in perfect chronological sequence, he does not expose all of his thoughts to the reader, leaving gaps that are fully explained when Marlowe is ready to explain them, both to his audience and other characters. This is a technique that is rarely done well and Raymond Chandler, as well as Dashiel Hammet, remain the tops and should be thanked for their contribution to the detective, noire and spy genres of fiction.

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