Sep 12, 14
Read in August, 2011
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 you could get. (I'd love to see a modern adaptation of this, and think it could transfer extremely well.)
The Continental Op is an interesting figure; the best scene, IMO, was when he was explaining how the town had ruined him and each household object had become a weapon in his eyes. It summarised the entire point of the book and crime's contagious poison in one succinct scene. I also enjoyed seeing several detectives on the scene, all muddying up the works. All in all, it was like having four noirs for the price of one; the scope was immense.