Spade & Archer: The Prequel to Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon
In the middle of THE MALTESE FALCON, which has been called the first existential detective novel, Sam Spade tells Brigid O'Shaugnessy about a case involving a man named Flitcraft, who disappeared from his affluent life in Tacoma, only to be tracked down ten years later in Spokane, living an identical life. This story, which has no bearing whatsoever on the MALTESE FALCON, is Joe Gores' starting point for this prequel.
As with his previous novel, HAMMETT, Go ...more
As a standalone novel, this is a great read. A fine example of hardboi ...more
nevertheless clear and concise.
Joe Gores has managed to capture that clarity in this book. In some ways, the book is three short stories taking place in 1921, 1925 and 1928. There is a theme that runs through all three, a villain that Spade cannot get out of his craw. In each section, the reader can not only see ho ...more
It's been a long time since I read The Maltese Falcon by Hammett, so ...more
Nearly all critics begin their reviews with one, head-scratching question: Why? The pages of book sections are littered with excoriating reviews of prequels to classics like Gone With The Wind and The Godfather. So it's an even greater tribute to Gores's achievement that, but for one glaring exception, he creates a chorus of converts. This meticulously researched backstory is a highly entertaining novel in its own right, albeit one that happens to cast new light on one of crime fiction's most co...more
I suppose it's inevitable when appro ...more
You could tell that Gores knew and loved the characters, ...more
Watch for the homages to Hammet, Spade takes an alias of "Nick Charles" at one point. I felt that the main vilian was relatively faceless, but many of the minor characters were great. Even some real life people, Henry Brisbane for Harry Bridges, etc. There is no facon, but some owls show up
Actually, Hammett’s surviving daughter gave permission. Gores approached her in 1999 about doing a prequel, and she said no. Then in 2004, she approached him about a sequel. He said no, but restated his interest i ...more
Having not read The Maltese Falcon (although I think I saw the movie a decade ago) I'm (again!) going to be a bit out of the water when it comes to reviewing this thing in the proper context. I mean, in addition to filling in some of the background for the aforementioned book, this is supposed to be written in the same style, right?
I'm going to assume TMF has an incredible array of historical factoids about San Francisco that have no bearing ...more
What Joe Gores does extremely well is pay tribute to all that is good about Dashiell Hammett. He revels in the task, struts his literary stuff, and winds up with a very respectable spin-off. The characters are true t ...more
This new book takes place in San Francisco during the 1920's - an era of bootleg whiskey, brothels, longshoremen unions, & corruption. Sam takes ...more
So, as per usual, I was annoyed through most of the book. Authors enlisted to revive (steal?) classic characters of the past just make me cranky. But, I have to admit, i really enjoyed this ...more
I know that to some people it might seem like bad manners or even heresy to presume to take the Bogart-character-to-be and write a tale around him and his partner. But who among us has never read a collaboration of two or more authors? Or a book completed posthumously by a second author? Or something ghost-written (ok, leave that one out of the "good" side of the scoreboard)? Or even more likely, a ...more
He served in the U.S. Army - writing biographies of generals at the Pentagon - was educated at the University of Notre Dame and Stanford, and spent twelve years as a San Francisco private investigator. The author of dozens of no ...more