Re: RARA-AVIS: Last Hammett Red Harvest Day

From: James Rogers (
Date: 31 Jan 2000

>: I meant to comment earlier when the book of the month was being
>: discussed more heavily. Since, it's the end of the month, I'll just
throw in my two bits.

          I stood up for _Red Harvest_ a couple of months ago, so I have been quiet. But I reckon I can say a couple of things.
          This is not Hammett's best book, but it is probably his most fun book. As I think someone pointed out, it really is just a western dresed up as a detective story, right down to the "unrideable horse" scene. The plot could be transplanted to any setting, though....medieval, high school, anything. The pacing is nearly perfect and most of the characters are deftly drawn and sometimes, as in the case of the police chief, a bit more than just deftly. The Op is almost not a character but a sort of prism through whom the other characters are perceived....sort of like Dionysius in "The Bacchae", if I can be permitted the classical comparison (blush).
         But snotty lit-crit rantings are a little irrelevant; this is simply one of the best of the fast pulp novels. Lenny Kaye once described a record as belonging to the catagory of "put it on and play it again". That's the way I feel about _Red Harvest_. Better than this you don't get.


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