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The Goodbye Coast: A Philip Marlowe Novel

Review

The Goodbye Coast: A Philip Marlowe Novel

If you’re a fan of hard-boiled mysteries, you’ve no doubt heard of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe, a tough guy PI on the streets of LA in the ’30s and ’40s. That was then. This is now. Joe Ide has revamped Marlowe for the 2020s. He is still smart, wise and witty, and very much of a loner.

Marlowe always dreamed of being a cop like his father. He even attended the police academy and graduated, but lost his job in well under a year, a failure his dad won’t let him forget. The relationship between father and son blows hot and cold. Despite conflicted emotions, Marlowe looks out for Emmet, especially since his mother died and Emmet began drinking heavily, which earned himself a suspension from the LAPD.

"This is one gritty-to-the-core novel, as clever as a Sherlock Holmes tale, and a rollercoaster thrill ride the entire way through."

Still, Emmet has connections, some of whom toss PI jobs Marlowe’s way every now and then. In reality, some are jobs that are not particularly welcome --- like the two missing people he’s been hired to find. First, fading movie star Kendra James wants her daughter, Cody, brought home. She doesn’t like the optics of having a runaway kid on the loose, so she demands Marlowe find her and drag her back to their Malibu mansion.

Marlowe would rather turn the gig down but figures he can at least charge triple his usual rates. But when he discovers who Cody has involved herself with, triple fees may not be enough. The privileged teenager turns out to be nothing but trouble. He knows that because he already has found her. For the time being, he has stashed her at his dad’s house while he figures out whether or not to return her to Kendra. What’s really going on here?

Meanwhile, a bereft mother named Ren Stewart shows up at Marlowe’s door, pleading with him to find her son, Jeremy. Ren’s ex-husband stole him away from their London home. All she knows is that he brought Jeremy to LA. Again, Marlowe promises nothing, at least at first. But then he starts having feelings for Ren, which leads him to make rash assurances and take dangerous chances.

Both cases head down dark, perilous roads to destinations unknown. Eventually, Cody involves herself in Ren’s problem, and what was once a good plan blows up like a nuclear plant leak. Disasters seem to follow the self-centered teenager everywhere. Or does she cause them? However it goes, the girl can only be described as an entitled rich brat who wants what she wants. Sure, she has a moment or two in which a glimmer of humanity shows itself. But is it genuine?

Philip Marlowe knows LA inside and out. Marlowe and LA are interlinked like two lovers who have had a falling-out but keep coming back to each other. Uncomfortable with meaningless small talk, Marlowe rambles on about interesting historical facts and area trivia, making THE GOODBYE COAST far more than an edge-of-your-seat mystery.

Joe Ide enriches the story with anecdotal tidbits about places like Hollywoodland, famous stars who were on the set of various movies, the glitz and glamour of Malibu, and the down and dirty back alleys of the ghetto. He sics lethally nasty goons on Marlowe’s trail, sets loose some seriously bad Armenian mafia guys, and tosses into the mix at least one LA street gang on the trail of some big bucks, making for some thrilling action. Then he hits the reader with a twist that no one sees coming.

This is one gritty-to-the-core novel, as clever as a Sherlock Holmes tale, and a rollercoaster thrill ride the entire way through.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on February 11, 2022

The Goodbye Coast: A Philip Marlowe Novel
by Joe Ide

  • Publication Date: February 1, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Hard-boiled Mystery, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books
  • ISBN-10: 0316459275
  • ISBN-13: 9780316459273