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Red Harvest: 08/02/11

cover art

Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett is one of two novels featuring the Continental Op, a character based on Hammett's own experience as a private investigator for the Continental Detective Agency.

In this book the C.O. goes on assignment to Personville, aka Poisonville, an old mining town. His client is murdered before he has a chance to begin the assignment. In the course of investigating his client's murder he realizes that corruption runs deep and wide in Poisonville and decides to clean things up.

The book was published in 1929 but it reads like a modern thriller. The language is raw and the C.O. works by his own rules and moral code. He can seem cruel, crude and indifferent but he's consistent and predictable.

While reading the novel I was reminded of a Rockford Files episode from the second season, The Great Blue Lake Land and Development Company. Both are towns with total corruption where it's nearly impossible to find a trustworthy person.

Although I liked Red Harvest it didn't pull me in as strongly as The Maltese Falcon. I think part of that was the unfamiliar location and main character. It was my first time reading a Continental Op. story.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Wednesday, August, 3, 2011 at 21:09:29


The Maltese Falcon is a book that I've wanted to try for some time now. Great review!

Comment #2: Saturday, August 6, 2011 at 21:26:31


The Maltese Falcon is a wonderful book, especially if you've ever been to San Francisco.

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