Marlowe, against his better judgement, accepts two missing person cases, the first a daughter of a faded, tyrannical Hollywood starlet, and the second, a British child stolen from his mother by his father.
The laugh-out-loud dialogue, the vivid similes, the complicated story and the set-piece subplots are all vintage Chandler. The gripping flashbacks, the adrenaline-pumping action and the heart-piercing poignance show Mr. Ide at his best. The Goodbye Coast delivers the distilled essence of both authors for the price of one.
... 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.
Ide boasts an insider’s knowledge of Southern California (he grew up in East Los Angeles) and has been explicit about his reverence for Chandler. Unfortunately, apart from its moody, Chandler-esque title and a main character called Philip Marlowe, The Goodbye Coast has as much connection to Chandler’s novels as Rome, N.Y., has to Rome ... a double-helix plot — composed of a secondary cast of sadistic Armenian gangsters — that twirls and unwinds; twirls and unwinds, until it ends abruptly and anticlimactically. No matter, right? As I’ve said, Chandler’s own novels and stories rate a B-plus at most when it comes to plotting. What does matter in any worthy Chandler tribute is language (in particular, those over-the-top metaphors), atmosphere and an all-encompassing vision of 'a world gone wrong.' In The Goodbye Coast, those essential elements reappear in faint and flattened form ... unless such reinventions are done with wit and lyricism — as Ide’s own IQ series is — they would be better not done at all.