Electronic book text
April 28, 2020
9781421437101
9781421437095
English
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9 b&w photos
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Hardback
July 7, 2020
9781421437095
English
224
9 b&w photos
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
1 Pounds (US)
1 Pounds (US)
$27.00 USD, £20.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Detectives in the Shadows

A Hard-Boiled History

Steadfast in fighting crime, but operating outside the police force—and sometimes even the law—is the private detective. Driven by his own moral code, he is a shadowy figure in a trench coat standing on a street corner, his face most likely obscured by a tilted fedora, a lit cigarette dangling from his hand. The hard-boiled detective is known by his dark past, private pain, and powers of deduction. He only asks questions—never answers them. In his stories he is both the main character and the narrator.

America has had a love affair with the hard-boiled detective since the 1920s, when Prohibition called into question who really stood on the right and wrong side of the law. And nowhere did this hero shine more than in crime fiction. In Detectives in the Shadows, literary and cultural critic Susanna Lee tracks the evolution of this truly American character type—from Race Williams to Philip Marlowe and from Mike Hammer to Jessica Jones.

Lee explores how this character type morphs to fit an increasingly troubled world, offering compelling interpretations of The Wire, True Detective, and Jessica Jones. Suddenly, in the present day, the hard-boiled detective wears his—or her—fatigue outwardly, revealing more vulnerability than ever before. But the detective remains resolute in the face of sinister forces, ever the person of honor. For anyone interested in crime fiction and television, or for those wanting to understand America's idolization of the good guy with a gun, Detectives in the Shadows is essential reading.

About the Author

Susanna Lee is a professor of French and comparative literature at Georgetown University. She is the author of Hard-Boiled Crime Fiction and the Decline of Moral Authority and A World Abandoned by God.

Reviews

"One can say many things about crime fiction, and throughout this thoughtful, well-crafted piece of literary history, Lee succeeds in telling the story straight."—Library Journal

"For detective fiction fans, this will prove an entertaining and informative trip through American history alongside their favorite gumshoes."—Publisher's Weekly

"A revealing critique of a pop culture icon and required reading for mystery buffs."—Julie Hale, BookPage

"Detectives in the Shadows is a feisty alternative view of American history as seen through the lens of hard-boiled detective fiction. Lee tails everyone from Race Williams and Hammett's Continental Op to Harry Bosch and Netflix's Jessica Jones, following the clues where they lead. Smart, brave, determined, neither tarnished nor afraid, and always fascinating. A must-read."—Kevin Burton Smith, The Thrilling Detective Web Site

"Cinch the belt on your trench coat, order a shot neat, and light up a smoke. Whether you're an academic or a noir fiction fan, there's something for everyone in Susanna Lee's book about the origins of the uniquely American hardboiled detective. From the Jazz Age to the present, Lee highlights how the private eye embodies American readers' desire for characters they'd want in their corner during hard or confusing times. Detectives in the Shadows is one of those books that is both enjoyable and educational. Bottoms up!"—Trudy Nan Boyce, author of The Policeman's Daughter

"A meticulous, engaging, and can't-miss history and analysis of the private eye genre and how it has evolved from the early days of Philip Marlowe to TV series like Jessica Jones. Lee explores every important aspect of the 'tainted knight' trope and its many offshoots to create an essential tome that's perfect for casual or hardcore fans of private eye fiction."—Alex Segura, author of the Pete Fernandez mystery series

"Susanna Lee offers a hard-bitten, clear-eyed, critical, and affectionate take on that most particular incarnation of the hawkshaw."—Gary Phillips, author of Matthew Henson and the Ice Temple of Harlem

The Johns Hopkins University Press

 

9781421437095 : detectives-in-the-shadows-lee
Hardback
224 Pages
$27.00 USD
9781421437101 : detectives-in-the-shadows-lee
Electronic book text
224 Pages
$27.00 USD

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