Ann's Reviews > Red Harvest

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
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's review
Dec 29, 2008

really liked it
Read in December, 2008

As a writer, I've never gotten a good handle on how to plot, which is one reason why this book was such a good read for me. From the first paragraph, Hammett launches straight into his iconic story of the corrupt town and the enigmatic and morally ambiguous loner who arrives and proceeds to blow the corruption apart, and he nevers slows the pace for inconsequentials such as giving his protagonist a name.

As readers and cinema goers, we've seen countless iterations of the enigmatic loner taking down the corrupt system, to the point where the plot seems more than a little trite, to me at least. But Hammett (who may have well launched this peculiar American slant on it) knows his characters, has a fine grasp of their psychological depths and how to mine them (even as his protagonist plays the various thugs and villians against one another to their destruction). Underneath the blood and mayhem and petty corruption, Red Harvest is a thinking person's revenge story, but Hammett keeps the plot adroitly moving at break-kneck pace through so many twists and turns, the reader barely has time to register it.
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