Saturday, November 06, 2010

Red Harvest

By Dashiell Hammet

A lone detective comes to a town where the forces of disorder are running wild, so he cleans the place up, and the body count rises fast. I've seen this format, or something very similar in the films; 'Yojima', 'For a fistful of dollars' and 'Last man standing', but I've never read a novel like this. Taking its age into account, it is something of a big contradiction as its fascinating, some what trivial and very unrealistic. The story starts with a simple murder investigation and then spirals off into a labyrinth of gangs, mobsters and other assorted crooks.

At one point I thought it was getting into something very good, something more than just a murder investigation, but then I realised I was reading something I'd seen in the afore mentioned films and the whole thing become a farce, an enjoyable farce, but a farce nonetheless. Kind of like a serious version of the Keystone Cops. With the author churning out1930's colloquialisms in every second sentence however, the ambience is pure pulp so its an enjoyable book just so long as you don't harbour any desperate expectations.

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