Joe Ide paid Raymond Chandler’s estate so he could use the Philip Marlowe name in a modern version of the hard-boiled detective novel. The result is The Goodbye Coast. Ide could have saved his money and named is detective John Doe for all the good he does with the character and the genre. It is a shame because Joe Ide can certainly coin a phrase, paint a picture, and tell a good story.
Modern Philip Marlowe is hired by B-movie actress Kendra James to find her missing teenage daughter Cody. Cody is a sullen kid with one hell of a temper and no moral compass. When Marlowe discovers Cody’s life is in danger he stashes her with Emmett, his policeman father.
The plot revolves around the Russian mob getting money laundered through filmmaker Terry James, Cody’s father. The movie money is missing, Terry James has been killed, and everybody is running around L.A. trying to find two million dollars including members of the Armenian mob.
The Goodbye Coast has a high number of morally bankrupt characters and a high body count. The pacing is pretty decent but the fictional web Joe Ide creates is not that interesting and not well woven. Ide fails to make his Philip Marlowe more than a standard detective dealing with some very warped people caught in a somewhat convoluted plot.
There is a secondary story line where Marlowe is also helping a British woman called Ren find her missing son. That plot line seems only to set up Ren as a character with martial arts and gun skills who can help Marlowe get out of trouble when he is in a tight corner.
If you are a fan of hard-boiled fiction, The Goodbye Coast is a miss. As a simple thriller, The Goodbye Coast fails to really captivate. The writing itself is superb though so go figure.
The Goodbye Coast
A Philip Marlowe mystery
Mulholland Books 2022
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