In The Chill a distraught young man hires Archer to track down his runaway bride. But no sooner has he found Dolly Kincaid than Archer finds himself entangled in two murders, one twenty years old, the other so recent that the blood is still wet. What ensues is a detective novel of nerve-racking suspense, desperately believable characters, and one of the most intricate plots ever spun by an American crime writer.
Lew Archer is characterized by a deep compassion for people in trouble and his reluctance to employ violent methods to resolve a conflict. Archer himself said I have a secret passion for mercy. But justice is what keeps happening to people.
Macdonalds stories are singular for their deep psychological insight and vivid metaphors and similes. He was elected president of the Mystery Writers of America and in 1974 was awarded their highest honor the Grand Master Award. His approach to crime writing was heavily influenced by Raymond Chandler, with whom Macdonald shared the belief that a well-written mystery is as artistically valuable as any other type of literature.