Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Red Harvest” as Want to Read:
Red Harvest
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Red Harvest (The Continental Op #1)

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  12,621 ratings  ·  670 reviews
When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain.
Paperback, 216 pages
Published July 17th 1989 by Vintage (first published 1929)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Red Harvest, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Red Harvest

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Question: How to induce a gushing, mind-blowing noirgasm?

Answer: Have your amoral, no-nonsense, no-name main character bust out with slick, cool-dripping phrases like: "I poured out a couple of hookers of gin [while] She went into the kitchen for another siphon and more ice.

Friends, if there’s a unit of measurement more loaded with juicy, quintessential noirness than “a hooker of gin,” please let me know because I spent my entire happy wad when I read that. No offense to fans of Raymond Chandle
- What's the rumpus?
- Don Willson's gone to sit on the right hand of God, if God don't mind looking at bullet holes.
- Who shot him?
- Somebody with a gun.

Donald Willson may have been the last 'straight man' in the city of Personville, better known as 'Poisonville' - a midwestern industrial town overrun by criminal gangs during the Prohibition. Editor of the local paper, Don has called on The Continental Op (the unnamed hero of the novel, a private eye employed by the Continental Detect
James Thane
Originally published in 1929, Red Harvest is a classic crime novel that helped established the hard-boiled genre. This is most definitely not a polite, parlor mystery where most of the blood is spilled off of the page. As the title suggests, this book is filled with mayhem and the bodies are falling left and right.

The main protagonist is the Continental Op, who doesn't remotely resemble the genteel Hercule Poirot or any of the other fictional detectives who were so popular in the 1920s. The Op i
“You're drunk, and I'm drunk, and I'm just exactly drunk enough to tell you anything you want to know. That's the kind of girl I am. If I like a person, I'll tell them anything they want to know. Just ask me. Go ahead, ask me.”

A quick and impressive read, especially for the time it was written. Hammett's Continental Op is obviously the basis for everything that would come in the hard boiled/noir genre and for that alone it deserves all the praise it gets. But it's not just the character and the
Glenn Russell
Published in 1929, ‘Red Harvest’ is the first of five classic novels written by Dashiell Hammett, inventor of the ‘hard-boiled’ school of fiction. Since there are dozens of reviews already posted here, I will take a different slant, citing how quotes from 19th century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche apply to the novel’s unnamed main character/narrator, a man simply known as ‘Continental Op’ and the city where the novel is located, Personville aka Poisonville, a dingy mining city of 40,000 ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 05, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006 only)
My second in this genre called noir and I loved it. To like this genre one needs to develop an acquired taste because it is something that is very distinct and could be alienating if you just delve into it without opening your mind.

The setting is dark and the characters' prospect for happiness is almost nil. According to Wiki, Hammett himself worked as an investigator for the Pinkerton's Detective Agency and he was therefore able to bring strong sense of realism to his milieu and to the characte
2.5 – 3 stars (I hope Dan and Kemper don’t throw me out of the noir club before I even get in!)

I feel as though I ought to have liked _Red Harvest_ more than I did. After all it was written by Dashiell Hammett, one of the fathers of noir fiction (perhaps more famous for The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man) and, like many of his books, became the source for numerous (often excellent) film adaptations. It has an interestingly conflicted protagonist and is chock full of killing, double crosses, dec
Nov 06, 2011 Mohammed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: To anyone who likes literary masterworks
My second time reading this and i saw things i missed the first time. Some nuances of the characters,dialouge,the authors world view. I dont re-read ever but i should re-read this every two years when i forgot little of the mystery,the work The OP is doing in Posionville.

This novel is a true literary Masterwork that makes you understand why Hammett has the reputation he has in mainstream American Literature let alone in crime,noir fiction.
It is a great,fun,bleak hardboiled PI story. Also Hammett
Larry Bassett
Dec 15, 2013 Larry Bassett rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Larry by: James Thane
Shelves: crime, mystery
I read a review of Red Harvest recently and decided I wanted to read this 1929 book by Dashiell Hammett, an author whose name is very familiar to me but whom I have not managed to read other than The Maltese Falcon a very long time ago. So I bought a used copy online and have actually decided to read it right away at the end of the year rather than putting it on a shelf to gather dust and get lost! In fact, this book is the 100th book of my successful 2013 GR reading challenge so a small celebra ...more
I didn't think it was possible that Dashiell Hammett could ever top the the coolness of the Maltese Falcon but I think I like Red Harvest even more. The nameless Continental Op arrives in Personville, better known to the locals as Poisonville, and the body count starts rising and doesn't stop until the end. The Op is a classic noir character and is nowhere close to a good guy, However, he is a supreme badass and I loved reading about him. If you like noir fiction, this may be the tops.
I keep vacillating from three to four stars on this. I recently finished The Maltese Falcon, which I loved, and quite a few people told me that if I loved Maltese Falcon I will love Red Harvest. I simply liked this one. Maltese Falcon was a tight mystery with a gritty but likable protagonist (Sam Spade) sparring with a few other well written character with some of the tightest dialogue this side of Shakespeare. Red Harvest had too many characters, too many jerky sub-plots, too many red herrings ...more
I'd like to start by saying that is the first of the classic hard-boiled detective novels I've read, so I don't have much of a touchstone for if this is a good example, or a good starting place, or what. The genre appeals to me, but without anything to compare, it's hard for me to know how this measures up to other books of a similar nature.

Red Harvest is the tale of Personville, known to the locals as Poisonville, and "The Continental Op" - as he's known in the Hammett world, he never gives a n
In each fictional genre, (war, romance, western, mystery, etc) there are usually a few books which that genre's fans near-unanimously consider to be holy; sacred: an icon, a landmark, milestones.

In any genre's canon (though it happens rarely) there are sometimes as few as 2-3 revered relics--renowned among fans--or even just one. This is the case when it comes to hard-boiled American crime fiction from the 1920s & 30s; this is the case when it comes to author Dashiell Hammett; and this is v
I still don't have the least idea what's going in Dashiell Hammett's books, but I'm definitely along for the ride. I don't know what it is about these noir detectives and their poor damaged livers, but I always get hooked (and start wondering whether I have any alcohol stronger than cider around, just to get into the spirit of it). I tried figuring out The Thin Man, earlier, but in Red Harvest I just sat back and went along with the ride -- Hammett/the narrator just don't give you enough informa ...more
This subject is probably discussed at great scholarly length elsewhere (perhaps in Joshua Waletsky's 1999 documentary "Dashiell Hammett: Detective, Writer") but, at the moment, I'm not sure where, so I'll add my 2¢'s worth: "Red Harvest" is about a detective hired to 'clean up' a town who pits various gangsters against each other in the process & destabilizes the criminal community into a bloodbath, a Red Harvest. The detective becomes increasingly psychotic as he begins to enjoy the mayhem ...more
Camille Stein
'—Don Willsson ha ido a sentarse a la derecha de Dios, a menos que a Dios le preocupen los agujeros de bala.
—¿Quién le ha matado? — pregunté.
El hombre gris se rascó la cabeza y dijo:
—Alguien con una pistola.'

'Cosecha Roja' es el esqueleto desnudo de una novela: escueto, limpio, nítido, sin abalorios ni florituras. Un ejercicio de sobriedad, efectismo, sarcasmo y mala leche, salpicado de diálogos y episodios memorables, con una trama cinematográfica endiabladamente enrevesada, esperpéntica, de
Ian Tregillis
Wow. I know this is noir, so there are certain expectations. But even reading the book with that filter in place, the Continental Op is really sort of a dick.

This is competently written, in my humble opinion. Although, as more eloquent folks here on Goodreads have said before me, the difference between Hammett's prose and Chandler's is the difference between trying to describe everything and using one perfect telling detail. Hammett has a weird obsession with describing people's faces, and in p
This is one of those books I love beyond a number of other “better” works of art, so don’t expect a balanced and overly critical review. Not that the book isn't fantastic. [SPOILERS AHEAD, SPOILERS AHEAD:]

My very first exposure to Hammett was the novella, Woman in the Dark, published separately as a slender volume which I read in college. I knew very little about Hammett save he was supposed to be the man who inspired Chandler and I loved Chandler as much back then as I do today. The edition I r
Of all classic hard-boiled novels, this one has a record of having maximum number of dead bodies per page. A nameless narrator from Continental detective agency is invited to a city for corruption investigation by the city tycoon's son. Unfortunately, by the time the MC arrives, his potential employer is already killed. It does not take a genius to realize the city is rules by criminals with the entire police department being on their payroll and chief of the department being a member of crimina ...more
A blood- and gin-soaked hardboiled detective novel, noir before there was noir. Kinda goes like this for about 200 pages:

"There was a time when I wanted to be left alone. If I had been, maybe now I'd be riding back to San Francisco. But I wasn't. Especially I wasn't left alone by that fat Noonan. He's had two tries at my scalp in two days. That's plenty. Now it's my turn to run him ragged, and that's exactly what I'm going to do. Poisonville is ripe for the harvest. It's a job I like, and I'm go
Catie Bloomfield
My favorite Dashiell Hammett novel. It has a great plot, probably the most complicated mystery story I've ever read. It makes one feel dirty after reading it because the imagery is so vivid.
This might very well be one of the 5 most influential novels in the crime genre's history. Not only did its basic premise in the cinematic medium inspire both Akira Kurosawa's "Yojimbo" and Sergio Leone's "A Fistful of Dollars" when transplanted to different settings. It also represents the breaking away from the escapism typified by the Arthur Conan Doyles and Agatha Christies of the world into the more realistic and serious territory much of the genre inhabits today.

As a literary milestone, it
Dec 03, 2007 Alison rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: noir fans
Shelves: alltime100novel
"Here's how she stacks up. Pete's throwed in with McGraw. That lines coppers and beer mob up against me and Whisper. But hell! Me and Whisper are busier trying to put the chive in each other than bucking the combine. That's a sour racket. While we're tangling, them bums will eat us up."

This is a masterpiece of crime fiction. If any book ever got the language right, this one did. This work is plot heavy (to put it lightly) and by the time you thought you'd figured out which thug (or copper) went
Kurt Reichenbaugh
"I was raised in a convent," she told me. "I won the good behavior prize every year I was there. I thought little girls who put extra spoons of sugar in their chocolate went to hell for gluttony. I didn't even know there was such a thing as profanity until I was eighteen. The first time I heard any I damn near fainted." She spit on the rug in front of her, tilted her chair back, put her crossed feet on my bed and asked: "What do you think of that?"

The plot of this novel is loopy as hell, but it'
Aug 02, 2014 Still rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. Perfect For Readers New To The Hardboiled Genre. Best Hardboiled Novel Ever Writen
Recommended to Still by: Osmosis

Second time around if not the third.
Must be third time around.
Still as good and as exciting as it was the first time back in my late teens - early twenties.

It wasn't my first encounter with the Continental Op -my favorite Dashiell Hammett character.
That was when I first read "Dead Yellow Women" from The Big Knockover as teenager just out o high school and attending college.
Later acquired a vintage Dell map-back edition of some of the same stories titled Dead Yellow Women

It wasn't until I'd re
Jun 02, 2013 Michael rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Hard boiled detective fans, Hammett fans, literary historians
Recommended to Michael by: Serendipity
To begin with, I'm a huge Dashiell Hammett fan, and there's a part of me that's inclined to simply rate all of his books with five stars. But, within that pantheon of excellence, there are degrees of perfection, and for me this book doesn’t – quite – reach the same heights as The Maltese Falcon or The Glass Key. It’s still probably better than 90% of the books I’ve given four stars – call it 4.75 or 4.9 stars.

While a lot of readers are familiar with Sam Spade and Nick Charles (if only because of
Also loved this! Possibly my favourite out of the three Hammett stories I've read so far, based purely on the breakneck pace and plotting and huge assortment of characters -- rather than the usual claustrophobic familial mystery, this was an entire cluster of mysteries and problems all tangled and knotted up in one. So much violence and action, too -- the shootouts and car chases with wheels leaving the ground, men hanging off the sides, and bullets spilling from the windows were as cinematic as ...more
Tasha Robinson
I read this excellent crime novel in one long Saturday sitting because I was so caught up in its world, which has inspired many disparate film versions, from the Coen brothers' Miller's Crossing (which has even more of Hammett's The Glass Key in its DNA) to Akira Kurosawa's Yojimbo. It's the story of a private detective who comes to a corrupt town to meet a man, finds him murdered, starts investigating the murder, then expands his efforts into cleaning up the town by turning all the criminals ag ...more
James Newman
If push came to shove and I had to name the best hard-boiled pulp detective novel ever written by any man or woman or beast (novels I have read, you know, a few may have slipped by)I would stand up and say RED HARVEST by Hammett. For me the most powerful book in this genre. Detective comes to town and splits it apart like a dirty match-stick. So powerfully done. Each and every character has his or her flaws and weaknesses. A blueprint for thousands to follow Red Harvest sets the bench mark for t ...more
When I read this book I kept thinking this book reminds me of the Bruce Willis movie Last Man Standing. Then I find out that movie was a remake of a Japanese movie called Yojimbo, which is based on Res Harvest. Have no fear though, this book is heaps better than that plotless movie. This book is full of gritty and complex side plots, red herrings, greed and corruption.

The unnamed main character is brought into Poisonville to clean up the town from all the gangsters and corruption. Pinning one a
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Circle of Books: * Solving Mysteries 1 1 Jan 17, 2013 12:13PM  
  • Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe #2)
  • Dog Soldiers
  • The Chill
  • Falconer
  • Double Indemnity
  • The Grifters
  • The Bride Wore Black
  • Shoot the Piano Player
  • A Rage in Harlem
  • Loving
  • The Man Who Loved Children
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement
Also wrote as Peter Collinson, Daghull Hammett, Samuel Dashiell, Mary Jane Hammett

Samuel Dashiell Hammett was an American author of hardboiled detective novels and short stories. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). In addition to the significant influence his nove
More about Dashiell Hammett...
The Maltese Falcon The Thin Man The Glass Key The Dain Curse The Continental Op

Share This Book

“You're drunk, and I'm drunk, and I'm just exactly drunk enough to tell you anything you want to know. That's the kind of girl I am. If I like a person, I'll tell them anything they want to know. Just ask me. Go ahead, ask me.” 60 likes
“Who shot him? I asked.
The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said: Somebody with a gun.”
More quotes…