Where others have failed, Lawrence Osborne succeeds brilliantly in bringing back legendary private eye Philip Marlowe. He does so largely by sidestepping the temptation to mimic Raymond Chandler’s idiosyncratic style and by making no attempt to recreate the swaggering private detective who outsmarted cops and mobsters in the celebrated author’s seven novels and numerous short stories set in Los Angeles in the 1930s, ’40s and ’50s.
Instead, Osborne imagines a melancholy, 72-year-old Marlowe living out his final years in solitude in a Baja Mexico fishing village in the 1980s. Gone is the gumshoe who taunted cops with wisecracks, manhandled gangsters and bedded debutantes. Osborne’s Marlowe is too world-weary, and too lame, for that sort of thing, and he no longer turns a pretty girl’s head.
For my full review of “Only to Sleep” for the Associated Press, please click here.