Mark's Reviews > Red Harvest

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
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's review
Aug 25, 2014

liked it
bookshelves: time-100, maryland-vanity
Read in February, 2011 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I'm torn a bit on this one. For a novel that takes such a dim view of robber barons and the assorted characters who spring up in the wake of exploitation they create, it takes a lot for me to dislike it. And I don't dislike Red Harvest, it just feels like I should have liked it more than I did.

The nameless main character goes about his business in Personville in an "abyss gazes into you" kind of way, also something I tend to find interesting. There were some really great scenes here and there, particularly a drug-induced dream (though that may be my standard Baltimore vanity giving bonus points to any novel that mentions Mount Royal Avenue) but the way they all connect left something to be desired. In doing this whole Time 100 thing, I end up reading books in the same sub-genre, sometimes close together and sometimes far apart, and you can't help but compare one to the other. Being as Raymond Chandler's The Big Sleep also falls into the detective story, that was the comparison here. Chandler had more mystery and less death, so I liked that one more.

Random thought I had while reading this: if Dashiell Hammett was alive in the present day, his calling in life would probably be to be a writer for Burn Notice on USA.

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