“Red Harvest”, by Dashiell Hammett

Novel, 1929

A novel which racks up incidents, gangster teams, weapons, fights, narcotics and shoot-ups steadily at first, before building, by the end of the book, a frenetic pace. This is a novel where characters are sketched then slaughtered in short order, as the plot and almost everything else about the book is chewed up in an extraordinary tide of corruption and destruction. Everything is soon tainted by the oppressive weight of bootleggers, heists and blow-out escapes from prison, as even the narrating Operative starts losing sight of himself. A book in which sense and understanding shimmer, but eh real punch is in the sickening onslaught of a power struggle which takes absolutely no prisoners.

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