Umney’s Last Case (1993) * Stephen King Book Review

This book is tiny!
The book is a brilliant homage by STEPHEN King to Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald’S noir classics – complete with a hard-bitten private eye who has bitten off a bit more than he can chew.

The story follows a private investigator named Clyde Umney as he goes about what he thinks is just another morning in 1930s Los Angeles. He soon discovers that his life as he knows it is falling apart. All of his lifelong friends and associates are abruptly departing in one fashion or other, for reasons ranging from winning the lottery to terminal cancer, and many of them express disdain towards Umney in place of farewells. He is brooding alone in his office when he receives his final client: Landry, the crime-fiction author who created him. Having suffered the loss of his wife and child as well as a severe case of shingles, Landry took an overdose of medication and found himself in the world of his creation. He demonstrates that his will is law in this world, and explains to a helpless Umney that he intends to take Umney’s place to live a life of eternal adventure and excitement. Umney is cast into oblivion—or so it seems.

Instead, Umney finds himself in the year 1994, occupying the vacated body of his creator. Although he realizes his previous existence was a sham, he also despises the ugly, bland, and generally inadequate nature of the “real” world. He announces that he has begun to practice the craft of writing so that he might return to his fictional home in order to take back his world and his life, and end Landry’s.

“Umney’s Last Case” was included as the third installment of TNT’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King, starring William H. Macy in a dual role as both Umney and the author. It originally aired on July 19, 2006. Macy was nominated for an Emmy for his performance

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