How do you like your crime novels prepared? Hard boiled detectives? Corrupt public officials? Rival gangs gunning for control of a town, perhaps? If so, Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest does all those things and more. This detective story is so engrossing and the characters so interesting, I cannot recommend it highly enough. Goddamn, did I like this book.
This is my first journey into any of Hammett’s work and I was quite impressed. I don’t know the last time I enjoyed character dialogue as much as this. It was easy to follow, but still smart and witty in beautiful way. Crisp transitions allowed the plot to cruise along without any clutter or confusion and by doing so, it forced the reader to keep reading. I found myself having a difficult time leaving this book alone as I desperately wanted see how this story would end.
I really enjoyed having a protagonist with anonymity. The Continental Op is believable as a detective, I loved the intimate little details of each person encountered. It gives you a true feeling of who each character was. From crooked lawyers to roommates with breathing disorders, you start to know them the same way that the detective does. Another thing I enjoyed was seeing how the violent environment wears on the prominent figure’s mental state. As the mystery begins to unravel and the detective gets closer to tying up his loose ends, you want to see how he will triumph over the turbulent town in which he is currently inhabiting.
Go read this book. It has an inventive and well thought out plot that is executed by good characters fueled with reasonable motives. This book is so very worth your time and energy. Though it doesn’t have the same name dropping appeal as The Maltese Falcon, I can’t imagine there being a much more enthralling example of this author’s writing style. This book was highly suggested to me by one of my readers and I must echo that sentimental with full gusto. Goddamn, did I like this book and I think you will too.
Cody Jemes is the co-host of the Bored Shenanigans podcast available via iTunes and Stitcher. See more of his articles here. Also enjoy his poetry blog here or download his e-book here. Be sure to follow Bored Shenanigans on Twitter or Facebook.