Sunday, January 18, 2015

Red Harvest

So, this is a fantastic book.  I'm not going to get into a lot of detail, because it is an acknowledged classic of crime fiction and I totally concur with that status.

You know the archetype hero who comes to a messed-up town and decides to clean house?  This book is the root source.  Jack Reacher and a lot of other modern-day thriller heroes owe a lot to Dashiell Hammett.  

In Red Harvest, the unnamed main character, known to fandom as the Continental Op, takes on a nasty web of corruption and makes the entire town explode.  The title refers to the rash of killings sparked by the Op's machinations.  

The pacing is wonderful.  Plenty of tight description, but no wasted space.  I found out later that the story was first published as installments in a magazine, which does explain the series of small climaxes throughout the book.  More books should be written this way!  

The best part is that, when a murder occurs late in the book while the Op is blacked out, the Op himself is only sure he didn't do it because of some technical details about the crime.  There are no wholly good guys here.

Final call:
This is great stuff, fast and satisfying.  It's written so well it can't even be called a guilty pleasure!

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