Cotton Comes to Harlem

Cotton Comes to Harlem

4.6 5
by Chester Himes
     
 

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A classic entry in Chester Himes’s trailblazing Harlem Detectives series, Cotton Comes to Harlem is one of his hardest-hitting and most entertaining thrillers.
 
Flim-flam man Deke O’Hara is no sooner out of Atlanta’s state penitentiary than he’s back on the streets working the scam of a lifetime. As sponsor of the

Overview

A classic entry in Chester Himes’s trailblazing Harlem Detectives series, Cotton Comes to Harlem is one of his hardest-hitting and most entertaining thrillers.
 
Flim-flam man Deke O’Hara is no sooner out of Atlanta’s state penitentiary than he’s back on the streets working the scam of a lifetime. As sponsor of the Back-to-Africa movement, he’s counting on a big Harlem rally to produce a massive collection—for his own private charity. But the take is hijacked by white gunmen and hidden in a bale of cotton that suddenly everyone wants to get his hands on. As NYPD detectives “Coffin Ed” Johnson and “Grave Digger” Jones piece together the complexity of the scheme, we are treated to Himes’s brand of hard-boiled crime fiction at its very best.




From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Chester Himes is the best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler.”
    —San Francisco Chronicle

“One of the most important American writers of the 20th century. . . . A quirky American genius.”
    —Walter Mosley

“Chester Himes is one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition. . . . A master craftsman.”
    —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
 
“Every one of his beyond-cool Harlem novels is cherished by every reader who finds it.”
    —Jonathan Lethem

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307803245
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/03/2011
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
250,974
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Chester Himes was born in Missouri in 1909. He began writing while serving a prison sentence for a jewel theft and published just short of twenty novels before his death in 1984. Among his best-known thrillers are Blind Man with a Pistol, Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Crazy Kill, A Rage in Harlem, The Real Cool Killers, and The Heat's On, all available from Vintage.

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Cotton Comes to Harlem 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
gkwombat More than 1 year ago
With the creation of his big city black detectives, Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones, Chester Himes achieved something singular and grand. Hard boiled genre fiction was nothing new in the 1950’s, but populating a landscape with sharply detailed black characters was new and still reads fresh today half a century later. The detectives work for a police department mostly at odds with the community they serve and serve a community distrustful of the department that they work for. Often this puts them in a vice, but also it frees them to make up their own rules. Adhering to a clear vision of right and wrong, like most hard boiled detectives, their means can swerve wildly from what would seem acceptable. Their creativity in the face of constant adversity propels the novel. The richly created world of Pimps, Madams, hustlers, grifters and work-a-day going to church every Sunday folk gives the novel a pulse and lively step. Himes achieved his stated goal of doing for Harlem what Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles. I almost felt like I knew where all the alleys were in Harlem by the end of the book. The heist at the center of the novel is a solid mystery that snakes through every corner of Harlem and squeezes out a fresh look at race relations on several social levels. The voices and language of COTTON COMES TO HARLEM still rings in my ears—always colorful but never overdone.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones are New York City police detectives assigned to Harlem. Both are highly valued by their boss for their unique skills and much respected by law-abiding Harlem residents who delight in describing their real and imagined exploits. Grave Digger and Coffin Ed make good use of a wide network of stool pigeons personally developed by them. There is very little waste in this book. The dialogue and descriptions are convincing. The writing is loaded with humor. I found it hard to put down from the beginning. A film based on the novel was produced by Samuel Goldwyn, Jr. for United Artists in 1970. The screenplay was written by Ossie Davis and Arnold Perl. Godfrey Cambridge and Raymond St. Jacques starred as Coffin Ed Johnson and Gravedigger Jones, respectively. Redd Foxx was Uncle Bud.
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