When the last honest citizen of Poisonville was murdered, the Continental Op stayed on to punish the guilty--even if that meant taking on an entire town. Red Harvest is more than a superb crime novel: it is a classic exploration of corruption and violence in the American grain. From the author of The Maltese Falcon.
©1929, 1956 Alfred A. Knopf, Inc, Dashiell Hammett. All rights reserved. (P)2011 AudioGO
"Dashiell Hammett is an original. He is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer." (Boston Globe)
I would recommend it, but with the caveat that while this is a good hardboiled novel, listeners wanting to introduce themselves to Hammett should go for "The Maltese Falcon" read by William Dufris.
There is one point where The Op gets into a car with some gangsters and, going to another gangster's building, firebombs it like the Rojos in "A Fistful Of Dollars". The whole thing gloriously devolves into huge gunfight in the street.
The Continental Op is, like, the most hardboiled dude in the universe. Before this, I've only listened to Hammett's "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Glass Key", and The Op leaves Sam Spade and Ned Beaumont in the dust.
There were a couple points in the reading where I believed Ferrone was misinterpreting character dialogue. I also think, but am not sure, that at one point he got voices mixed up.
Other than that, I liked him. His gravelly first-person narration adds yet another level of hardboiled to this already ridiculously hardboiled book.
Reading this after the (relatively) restrained "Falcon" and "Key", I was delighted at just how over-the-top the story is. If memory serves, less than ten people die in "Falcon" and in "Key". Here, I wouldn't be surprised if the body count hits fifty. Even The Op seems surprised by it all, given his worries at going "Blood Simple."
In my mind, Hammett essentially took a B-story idea and elevated it with good plotting, prose, and dialogue. This really is a fun book.
I enjoy detective stories. I was hoping to connect with this book. It was too macho, and dated for me. Typical Mike Hammer stuff. But just not really my thing.
I love to read
Listening to this I tried to figure who left more dead bodies in his wake: Clint Eastwood in the spaghetti westerns, Shakespeare in Titus Andronicus, or Hammett in Red Harvest. Hobson's choice. After a while I lost track of the characters. They came, they bled, they dropped and they were forgotten. Repeat. And repeat. Competently recited by Richard Ferrone.
A better narrator and a better story. The story was too long in my opinion. The author should have just stuck with the first murder.
If Richard wishes to narrate a book, he needs to contact some friends to do the other voices. His narration made the book way too hard to follow.
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