I had seen the movie (the 1941 remake, never the original) years ago but had vague recollections of the story. Being older now, I have a much higher respect for Mr. Hammett's writing style as well as a deeper understanding of the plot. The book was ever bit as good as the movie, if not better. I love the details and the way Sam Spade is portrayed -- stories nowadays are oftentimes too predictable with the good guys and bad guys clearly defined as if guised in white hats and black hats. Sam Spade is a gritty good guy who would probably wear a gray hat.
The reader is fantastic and enjoyable to hear. Other critics say he reflects too much the actors in the film but I didn't necessarily see that. Personally I think both the actors and Dufris merely captured the characters' personalities. He did an outstanding job that would make Mr. Hammett proud.
Dashiell Hammett is a brilliant author of fast-paced, witty mysteries. Here, in one of his lesser-known classics, he takes the reader through a path of political corruptness, murder, deception, and a street-smart Ned Beaumont who must make sense of it all?and quickly.
While this one is much like The Maltese Falcon in its style and Ned Beaumont is perhaps similar to Samuel Spade, the plot and the other characters bring a distinct personality to the book. Hammett-style narration of the story paints a perfect picture in the reader?s mind (while listening, I could close my eyes and see the story play out in my head as if it were on film.) Hammett is a pure genius and he really comes through for those who enjoy the rough, leathery characters from that era.
The narrator, William Dufris is absolutely brilliant and perhaps the best I?ve heard yet. His voice for each character is unique and quite suitable right down to the tough New York City accents. He truly defined each character?s personality and Hollywood couldn?t do a better job in casting separate actors to play each part.
This book is fast-paced with a wide array of side characters and sub plots so it is important to give it an undivided attention.
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