I just finished Thomas Pynchon’s new novel, Inherent Vice. It may well be his weakest book, but still a wonderful summer experience for old farts like me, and any other Jim Crumley fans out there. A genre mystery set in L.A., 1970, it’s soft- not hard-boiled due to the diminished mental capacity of the dopers whose lives Pynchon offers up with (dare I say it?) hallucinatory clarity. Among these folks, of course, such clarity amounts to a blur tinged with quasi-mystical insights gleaned from Gilligan’s Island reruns and surfer band tunes. Nixon and Nam, Right-wing vigilantes, secret societies, real estate moguls, murder and mayhem—ah, the good old days! The mood is captured perfectly in this promo for the book, with voiceover by Mr. T.P., the Man Himself….