cover image The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel

The Black-Eyed Blonde: A Philip Marlowe Novel

Benjamin Black, read by Dennis Boutsikaris. Macmillan Audio, unabridged, seven CDs, 8 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4272-3336-3

Veteran narrator Boutsikaris turns in a mixed performance in this audio edition of Black’s resurrection of Raymond Chandler’s intrepid Bay City PI Philip Marlowe. In classic noir tradition, it all starts with a black-eyed class act walking into Marlowe’s office looking to hire the gumshoe to find missing lover Nico Peterson. Marlowe agrees to take the case, but of course nothing is what it seems, and the mean streets of the early 1950s are the dark and twisted kind, where violence, deceit, and corruption are simply the costs of doing business. Boutsikaris does a standout job of bringing Black’s characters to life. Thug or cop, heiress or moll, he gives them all distinct voices that fit well with the book’s Chandleresque prose and dialogue. But Boutsikaris’s Marlowe isn’t quite right. While the narrator offers a perfectly serviceable reading that certainly hits all the right notes, his characterization comes across as a softer, gentler creation, and less the tough, tarnished knight who sees the sins of the world with a weary, cynical eye. A Henry Holt hardcover. (March)