Skip to content

The Instant Enemy

(Book #14 in the Lew Archer Series)

Select Format

Select Condition ThriftBooks Help Icon


Format: Mass Market Paperback

Condition: Acceptable

Almost Gone, Only 1 Left!

Book Overview

Lew Archer is back, careening down the bloody trail of women who were beaten to death, a murdered cop, and a dead hobo who is the key to a 15-year-old family secret that won't die. (The) American... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Best. Macdonald. Ever.

The critical consensus is that __The Chill__ is Ross Macdonald's best novel, but for my money, this one tops it, if only by a bit. A simple case becomes more complex by the page, as Lew Archer uncovers layer beneath layer of twisted family ties stretching back decades, with crimes in the present having roots deep in the past.

My favorite Ross Macdonald so far.

...and that is actually saying quite a bit, considering that he is one of my favorite detective fiction writers. Written in 1968, this is Macdonald at the height of his skills. It features all the classic elements of inherited guilt, needless loss, corrupt manipulation and class barriers. Instead of stumbling over 1960s culture (as so many lesser writers seem to do), it makes free love and drug culture just two more things to be misused by the wrong sort of people. Tough, smoothly written, well plotted. A must read for fans of Lew Archer and a good place to begin with Macdonald if you have not yet discovered his work.

Fast paced, superbly constructed.

The Instant Enemy is the quintessential Ross Macdonald novel. Why? Because it incorporates so many of the elements Macdonald held near and dear to his heart. These include: -Family tragedies that repeat themselves over the generations. -Unexpected familial relationships between characters. -A young person's journey to claim a birthright unfairly denied. -The notion that one's destiny is largely determined at birth, if not before. The book starts out with Lew Archer being summoned to the Woodland Hills home of Keith Sebastian and his wife Bernice. Their 17 year old daughter has run away and they want Archer to find her without involving the police. Archer soon learns that the girl is traveling in the company of a 19 year old delinquent named Davy Spanner. What's more, it appears that they are planning to commit a very serious crime against Sebastian's boss, the fabulously wealthy oilman Stephen Hackett. Archer wends his way up and down much of the California coast steadfastly seeking to unravel the truth behind the shocking series of events that rapidly ensue. The fast paced narrative unfolds quite smoothly as one unexpected complication after another is brought to light. And Macdonald's prose is first rate. Whether depicting the scenic landscapes of the California coastline or the changing face of American society as it reflects the turbulence of the 1960s, the writing is remarkably deft and descriptive. Thoroughly engaging, suspenseful and rich with surprise, The Instant Enemy ranks among the finest novels written by Ross Macdonald. Do yourself a favor and read it.

Heart-breaking tragedy told in who-dun-it format

It seems that the cases Lew Archer takes on are rather straight forward looking at the outset and startlingly complex as he gets into them. This one ranks among the best of the series because of the characters involved. This time, he's hired first by a runaway daughter's father and runs into a plot against the father's employer. A subsequent kidnapping and threat of murder gets him also "hired" by the intended victim's mother. The alert reader will figure out aspects of the whole picture before the revelation, but chances are that reader will run into a few surprises. The puzzle is definitely an important part of the total story, but it's the depth of character and the implicit tragic developments that make a Ross MacDonald story the rewarding experience that it is.

From back cover

Sandy Sebastian was only a kid-a lost, lonely, unhappy young girl who ran away with another equally lost kid called Davy Spanner. One was a homicidal killer. Both were kidnappers, and Lew Archer was hired to stop them before anyone got hurt. Archer had followed bloody trails before-but never one as bizarre and terrible as this...The Instant Enemy.
Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured