Red Harvest

( 33 )

Overview

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.

A brutal and realistic depiction of gang warface, this gritty crime novel is also "an ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (1) from $6.50   
  • Used (1) from $6.50   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$6.50
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(137)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Good
1992-08 Paperback Good Perma Books 1961 M4201 Great cover art.

Ships from: Newnan, GA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
Red Harvest

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$3.99
BN.com price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.

Overview

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.

A brutal and realistic depiction of gang warface, this gritty crime novel is also "an acknowledged literary landmark." -- NY Times Book Review

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The Continental Op, hero of this mystery, is a cool, experienced employee of the Continental Detective Agency. Client Donald Wilson has been killed, and the Op must track down his murderer. Personville, better known as Poisonville, is an unattractive company town, owned by Donald's father, Elihu, but controlled by several competing gangs. Alienated by the local turf wars, the Op finagles Elihu into paying for a second job, "cleaning up Poisonville." Confused yet? This is only the beginning of an incredibly convoluted plot. Hammett's exquisitely defined characters--the shabby, charming, and completely mercenary lady-of-the-evening; the lazy, humorous yet cold and avaricious police chief; and especially the tautly written, gradual disintegration of the Op's detached personality--make this a compelling read. In addition, William Dufris's performance is outstanding. Each character has his/her own unique vocal tag composed of both tonal inflections and speech patterns suited to his/her persona. Wonderful! The only flaw is the technical difficulty of cueing the "track book marked" CD format. An exceptional presentation of a lesser classic from the golden age of the mystery genre. Recommended for all but the smallest public and academic libraries.--I. Pour-El, Des Moines Area Community Coll., Boone, IA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Robert Graves
An acknowledged literary landmark. -- New York Times Book Review
From the Publisher
"An acknowledged literary landmark."  —NY Times Book Review.

"Dashiell Hammett is an original. He is a master of the detective novel, yes, but also one hell of a writer." — Boston Globe

"Hammett's prose [is] clean and entirely unique. His characters [are] as sharply and economically defined as any in American fiction."

The New York Times

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780394239040
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/1/1992

Meet the Author

Dashiell Hammett

Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary’s County. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter—messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health. When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. In The Maltese Falcon (1930) he first introduced his famous private eye, Sam Spade. The Thin Man (1932) offered another immortal sleuth, Nick Charles. Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most successful novels. During World War II, Hammett again served as sergeant in the Army, this time for more than two years, most of which he spent in the Aleutians. Hammett’s later life was marked in part by ill health, alcoholism, a period of imprisonment related to his alleged membership in the Communist Party, and by his long-time companion, the author Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a very volatile relationship. His attempt at autobiographical fiction survives in the story “Tulip,” which is contained in the posthumous collection The Big Knockover (1966, edited by Lillian Hellman). Another volume of his stories, The Continental Op (1974, edited by Stephen Marcus), introduced the final Hammett character: the “Op,” a nameless detective (or “operative”) who displays little of his personality, making him a classic tough guy in the hard-boiled mold—a bit like Hammett himself.

Biography

Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary's County. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter -- messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton's Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health.

When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. In The Maltese Falcon (1930) he first introduced his famous private eye, Sam Spade. The Thin Man (1932) offered another immortal sleuth, Nick Charles. Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most successful novels. During World War II, Hammett again served as sergeant in the Army, this time for more than two years, most of which he spent in the Aleutians.

Hammett's later life was marked in part by ill health, alcoholism, a period of imprisonment related to his alleged membership in the Communist Party, and by his long-time companion, the author Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a very volatile relationship. His attempt at autobiographical fiction survives in the story "Tulip," which is contained in the posthumous collection The Big Knockover (1966, edited by Lillian Hellman). Another volume of his stories, The Continental Op (1974, edited by Stephen Marcus), introduced the final Hammett character: the "Op," a nameless detective (or "operative") who displays little of his personality, making him a classic tough guy in the hard-boiled mold -- a bit like Hammett himself.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Read More Show Less
    1. Also Known As:
      Samuel Dashiell Hammett (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 27, 1894
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Mary, Maryland
    1. Date of Death:
      January 10, 1961
    2. Place of Death:
      New York

Read an Excerpt

Red Harvest


By Dashiell Hammett

Random House

Dashiell Hammett
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0679722610


Chapter One

A WOMAN IN GREEN
AND A MAN IN GRAY

I first heard Personville called Poisonville by a red-haired mucker named Hickey Dewey in the Big Ship in Butte. He also called his shirt a shoit. I didn't think anything of what he had done to the city's name. Later I heard men who could manage their r's give it the same pronunciation. I still didn't see anything in it but the meaningless sort of humor that used to make richardsnary the thieves' word for dictionary. A few years later I went to Personville and learned better.

Using one of the phones in that station, I called the Herald, asked for Donald Willsson, and told him I had arrived.

"Will you come out to my house at ten this evening?" He had a pleansantly crisp voice. "It's 2101 Mountain Boulevard. Take a Broadway car, get off at Laurel Avenue, and walk two blocks west."

I promised to do that. Then I rode up to the Great Western Hotel, dumped my bags, and went out to look at the city.

The city wasn't pretty. Most of its builders had gone in for gaudiness. Maybe they had been successful at first. Since then the smelters whose brick stacks stuck up tall against a gloomy mountain to the south had yellow-smoked everything into uniform dinginess. The result was an ugly city of forty thousand people, set in an ugly notch between two ugly mountainsthat had been all dirtied up by mining. Spread over this was a grimy sky that looked as if it had come out of the smelters' stacks.

The first policeman I saw needed a shave. The second had a couple of buttons off his shabby uniform. The third stood in the center of the city's main intersection-Broadway and Union Street-directing traffic, with a cigar in one corner of his mouth. After that I stopped checking them up.

At nine-thirty I caught a Broadway car and followed the directions Donald Willsson had given me. They brought me to a house set in a hedged grassplot on a corner.

The maid who opened the door told me Mr. Willsson was not home. While I was explaining that I had an appointment with him a slender blonde woman of something less than thirty in green crepe came to the door. When she smiled her blue eyes didn't lose their stoniness. I repeated my explanations to her.

"My husband isn't in now." A barely noticeable accent slurred her s's. "But if he's expecting you he'll probably be home shortly."

She took me upstairs to a room on the Laurel Avenue side of the house, a brown and red room with a lot of books in it. We sat in leather chairs, half facing each other, half facing a burning coal grate, and she set about learning my business with her husband.

"Do you live in Personville?" she asked first.

"No. San Francisco."

"But this isn't your first visit?"

"Yes."

"Really? How do you like our city?"

"I haven't seen enough of it to know." That was a lie. I had. "I got in only this afternoon."

Her shiny eyes stopped prying while she said:

"You'll find it a dreary place." She returned to her digging with: "I suppose all mining towns are like this. Are you engaged in mining?"

"Not just now."

She looked at the clock on the mantel and said:

"It's inconsiderate of Donald to bring you out here and then keep you waiting, at this time of night, long after business hours."

I said that was all right.

"Though perhaps it isn't a business matter," she suggested.

I didn't say anything.

She laughed-a short laugh with something sharp in it.

"I'm really not ordinarily so much of a busybody as you probably think," she said gaily. "But you're so excessively secretive that I can't help being curious. You aren't a bootlegger, are you? Donald changes them so often."

I let her get whatever she could out of a grin.

A telephone bell rang downstairs. Mrs. Willsson stretched her green-slippered feet out toward the burning coal and pretended she hadn't heard the bell. I didn't know why she thought that necessary.

She began: "I'm afraid I'll ha-" and stopped to look at the maid in the doorway.

The maid said Mrs. Willsson was wanted at the phone. She excused herself and followed the maid out. She didn't go downstairs, but spoke over an extension within earshot.

I heard: "Mrs. Willsson speaking. . . . Yes. . . . I beg your pardon? . . . Who? . . . Can't you speak a little louder? . . . What? . . . Yes. . . . Yes. . . . Who is this? . . . Hello! Hello!"

The telephone hook rattled. Her steps sounded down the hallway-rapid steps.

I set fire to a cigarette and stared at it until I heard her going down the steps. Then I went to a window, lifted an edge of the blind, and looked out at Laurel Avenue, and at the square white garage that stood in the rear of the house on that side.

Presently a slender woman in dark coat and hat came into sight hurrying from house to garage. It was Mrs. Willsson. She drove away in a Buick coupe. I went back to my chair and waited.

Three-quarters of an hour went by. At five minutes after eleven, automobile brakes screeched outside. Two minutes later Mrs. Willsson came into the room. She had taken off hat and coat. Her face was white, her eyes almost black.

"I'm awfully sorry," she said, her tight-lipped mouth moving jerkily, "but you've had all this waiting for nothing. My husband won't be home tonight."

I said I would get in touch with him at the Herald in the morning.

I went away wondering why the green toe of her left slipper was dark and damp with something that could have been blood.


I walked over to Broadway and caught a street car. Three blocks north of my hotel I got off to see what the crowd was doing around a side entrance of the City Hall.

Thirty or forty men and a sprinkling of women stood on the sidewalk looking at a door marked Police Department. There were men from mines and smelters still in their working clothes, gaudy boys from pool rooms and dance halls, sleek men with slick pale faces, men with the dull look of respectable husbands, a few just as respectable and dull women, and some ladies of the night.

On the edge of this congregation I stopped beside a square-set man in rumpled gray clothes. His face was grayish too, even the thick lips, though he wasn't much older than thirty. His face was broad, thick-featured and intelligent. For color he depended on a red windsor tie that blossomed over his gray flannel shirt.

"What's the rumpus?" I asked him.

He looked at me carefully before he replied, as if he wanted to be sure that the information was going into safe hands. His eyes were gray as his clothes, but not so soft.

"Don Willsson's gone to sit on the right hand of God, if God don't mind looking at bullet holes."

"Who shot him?" I asked.

The gray man scratched the back of his neck and said:

"Somebody with a gun."

I wanted information, not wit. I would have tried my luck with some other member of the crowd if the red tie hadn't interested me. I said:

"I'm a stranger in town. Hang the Punch and Judy on me. That's what strangers are for."

"Donald Willsson, Esquire, publisher of the Morning and Evening Heralds, was found in Hurricane Street a little while ago, shot very dead by parties unknown," he recited in a rapid sing-song. "Does that keep your feelings from being hurt?"

"Thanks." I put out a finger and touched a loose end of his tie. "Mean anything? Or just wearing it?"

"I'm Bill Quint."

"The hell you are!" I exclaimed, trying to place the name. "By God, I'm glad to meet you!"

I dug out my card case and ran through the collection of credentials I had picked up here and there by one means or another. The red card was the one I wanted. It identified me as Henry F. Neill, A. B. seaman, member in good standing of the Industrial Workers of the World. There wasn't a word of truth in it.

I passed this card to Bill Quint. He read it carefully, front and back, returned it to my hand, and looked me over from hat to shoes, not trustfully.

"He's not going to die any more," he said. "Which way you going?"

"Any."

We walked down the street together, turned a corner, aimlessly as far as I knew.

"What brought you in here, if you're a sailor?" he asked casually.

"Where'd you get that idea?"

"There's the card."

"I got another that proves I'm a timber beast," I said. "If you want me to be a miner I'll get one for that tomorrow."

"You won't. I run 'em here."

"Suppose you got a wire from Chi?" I asked.

"Hell with Chi! I run 'em here." He nodded at a restaurant door and asked: "Drink?"

"Only when I can get it."

We went through the restaurant, up a flight of steps, and into a narrow second-story room with a long bar and a row of tables. Bill Quint nodded and said, "Hullo!" to some of the boys and girls at tables and bar, and steered me into one of the green-curtained booths that lined the wall opposite the bar.

We spent the next two hours drinking whiskey and talking.

The gray man didn't think I had any right to the card I had showed him, nor to the other one I had mentioned. He didn't think I was a good wobbly. As chief muckademuck of the I. W. W. in Personville, he considered it his duty to get the low-down on me, and to not let himself be pumped about radical affairs while he was doing it.

That was all right with me. I was interested in Personville affairs. He didn't mind discussing them between casual pokings into my business with the red cards.

What I got out of him amounted to this:

For forty years old Elihu Willsson-father of the man who had been killed this night-had owned Personville, heart, soul, skin and guts. He was president and majority stockholder of the Personville Mining Corporation, ditto of the First National Bank, owner of the Morning Herald, and Evening Herald, the city's only newspapers, and at least part owner of nearly every other enterprise of any importance. Along with these pieces of property he owned a United States senator, a couple of representatives, the governor, the mayor, and most of the state legislature. Elihu Willisson was Personville, and he was almost the whole state.

Back in the war days the I. W. W.-in full bloom then throughout the West-had lined up the Personville Mining Corporation's help. The help hadn't been exactly pampered. They used their new strength to demand the things they wanted. Old Elihu gave them what he had to give them, and bided his time.

In 1921 it came. Business was rotten. Old Elihu didn't care whether he shut down for a while or not. he tore up the agreements he had made with his men and began kicking them back into their pre-war circumstances.

Of course the help yelled for help. Bill Quint was sent out from I. W. W. headquarters in Chicago to given them some action. He was against a strike, an open walk-out. He advised the old sabotage racket, staying on the job and gumming things up from the inside. But that wasn't active enough for the Personville crew. They wanted to put themselves on the map, make labor history.

They struck.

The strike lasted eight months. Both sides bled plenty. The wobblies had to do their own bleeding. Old Elihu hired gunmen, strike-breakers, national guardsmen and even parts of the regular army, to do his. When the last skull had been cracked, the last rib kicked in, organized labor in Personville was a used firecracker.

But, said Bill Quint, old Elihu didn't know his Italian history. He won the strike, but he lost his hold on the city and the state. To beat the miners he had to let his hired thugs run wild. When the fight was over he couldn't get rid of them. He had given his city to them and he wasn't strong enough to take it away from them. Personville looked good to them and they took it over. They had won his strike for him and they took the city for their spoils. He couldn't openly break with them. They had too much on him. He was responsible for all they had done during the strike.

Bill Quint and I were both fairly mellow by the time we had got this far. He emptied his glass again, pushed his hair out of his eyes and brought his history up to date:

"The strongest of 'em now is probably Pete the Finn. This stuff we're drinking's his. Then there's Lew Yard. He's got a loan shop down on Parker Street, does a lot of bail bond business, handles most of the burg's hot stuff, so they tell me, and is pretty thick with Noonan, the chief of police. This kid Max Thaler-Whisper-had got a lot of friends too. A little slick dark guy with something wrong with his throat. Can't talk. Gambler. Those three, with Noonan, just about help Elihu run his city-help him more than he wants. But he's got to play with 'em or else-"

"This fellow who was knocked off tonight-Elihu's son-where did he stand?" I asked.

"Where papa put him, and he's where papa put him now."

"You mean the old man had him-?"

"Maybe, but that's not my guess. This Don just came home and began running the papers for the old man. It wasn't like the old devil, even if he was getting close to the grave, to let anybody cop anything from him without hitting back. But he had to be cagey with these guys. He brought the boy and his French wife home from Paris and used him for his monkey-a damned nice fatherly trick. Don starts a reform campaign in the papers. Clear the burg of vice and corruption-which means clear it of Pete and Lew and Whisper, if it goes far enough. Get it? The old man's using the boy to shake 'em loose. I guess they got tired of being shook."

"There seems to be a few things wrong with that guess," I said.

"There's more than a few things wrong with everything in this lousy burg. Had enough of this paint?"

I said I had. We went down to the street. Bill Quint told me he was living in the Miners' Hotel in Forest Street. His way home ran past my hotel, so we walked down together. In front of my hotel a beefy fellow with the look of a plain-clothes man stood on the curb and talked to the occupant of a Stutz touring car.

"That's Whisper in the car," Bill Quint told me.

I looked past the beefy man and saw Thaler's profile.

Continues...


Excerpted from Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 33 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    "A Sweet Mess"

    "A sweet mess" is how the unnamed San Francisco Op refers to the mining (lying, stealing, blackmailing, killing)town of Poisonville (Personville).

    And what a mess it is. I lost count of the bodies at 17, about two-thirds the way through the book.

    What a tight, well-written and (despite the escalating body count) realistic book. The protagonist fears for his life, every woman doesn't automatically disrobe and sit on his face, he loses fights, gets outsmarted, admits he's 40 and out of shape.

    What a freaking breath of fresh air!

    And I only had to travel back to 1929 to get away from today's hard drinking, black belt, sniper trained, jet pilot, computer savvy superheroes who are somehow governed by their own, peculiar laws of physiology and physics.

    Here's one example from Hammett's hero: "There is nothing in running down streets with automobiles in pursuit. I stopped, facing this one. It came on."

    Reading this book I felt as if I were being written to, rather than written down at.

    Hammett is the man for all the right reasons.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 28, 2012

    Noir greatness! It has it all, the hard nosed smart detective, t

    Noir greatness! It has it all, the hard nosed smart detective, the dame, the multiple bad guys, a mystery or two to solve along the way and don't forget the grit and gore. I loved the story where our hero is one step ahead of his enemies and the reader. You never know what is happening next you just know you want to. I read this book because of it's link to Butte, MT and of course it's plot and style is linked to some of the best films in history and it did not disappoint. If you like noir it's a must read, if you want to sample what noir is all about this is a great place to start. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Hammett.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2012

    Missing pages

    I was trying to read it but pages were missing

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Great American Writer - Noir or Otherwise

    Dashiell Hammett's writing is gritty [the most commonly used adjective in all the reviews I read, but hard to get away from, because it's true], detailed and full of sarcasm. You have to read with your wits about you, or you will miss sub-contextual humor. His use of language is right up there with Mark Twain; don't get lost in the vernacular! We're only a few decades separated and yet, many passages read as if in another language. I recommend watching some old films, such as "The Maltese Falcon" and other noir classics of the 1930s and 1940s (not to mention "L.A. Confidential") to get your ear warmed to the rhythm of the lingo, because if you don't have a comfortable knowledge of words like hooch & shyster, you might feel a bit lost.

    Also, if you have an aversion to reading about smoking, drinking, drug use or prostitution, you would definitely want to stay away from this one. I was joking to myself at the beginning that one could play a drinking game and take a drink each time a character takes a drink, makes a drink, offers a drink, etc... but then, about half-way through, I reconsidered since anyone trying that game would never finish the book because they would pass out after the fifth chapter. Some readers have complained that this book is "amoral" but without giving any spoilers, I'd have to disagree and you'll have to trust me.



    The Continental Op setting up his identity at the beginning of the story confused me at first, I must be honest. I hadn't realized this was an Op novel, I just took it off the NY Times Top 100 Novels list and jumped in. Heed my warning about warming yourself into the pace of Hammett's writing. He doesn't write in short bursts of narrative or long descriptive passages, but somewhere in between. The dialogue is quick and witty, and if you blink you might miss it. Nothing is wasted but it isn't sparse. You come away from the book KNOWING the characters like you would recognize them in the street, if they weren't already dead.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2012

    Red Harvest, Shakespeare-style

    Dashiell Hammett's writing is gritty, detailed and full of sarcasm. You have to read with your wits about you, or you will miss sub-contextual humor. His use of language is right up there with Mark Twain: don't get lost in the vernacular. We're only a few decades separated and yet, it's like reading a different language. I've seen enough old movies, such as "The Maltese Falcon" and other noir classics of the 1930s and 1940s (not to mention "L.A. Confidential") that I was able to keep up, but if you don't have a comfortable knowledge of words like hooch & shyster, you might feel a bit lost.

    Also, if you have an aversion to reading about smoking, drinking, drug use or prostitution, you would definitely want to stay away from this one. I was joking to myself at the beginning that one could play a drinking game and take a drink each time a character takes a drink, makes a drink, offers a drink, etc... but then, about half-way through, I reconsidered since anyone trying that game would never finish the book because they would pass out after the fifth chapter.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Enter the Man with No Name

    "Red Harvest," Dashiell Hammett's first published novel (in 1929), reveals a world of venality, mayhem and revenge that set the tone for detective novels half a century into the future. A Continental Detective Agency Op is summoned from California to "Poisonville," Mont. by aged newspaper owner and banker Elihu Willsson. Elihu's criminal enterprise of imported thugs threatens to turn on him. The aged banker gives the Op enough of information to let our nameless narrator work his way through a host of evil-doers: Bill Quint, an affable old IWW member; corrupt police chief Noonan; greedy Dinah Brand, who has scandalous information on everyone; jealous bank clerk Robert Albury; hoodlum Max "Whisper" Thaler; and other evil-doers who run the town and its rackets. The first question is "Who killed Elihu's son?" The Op sets about pitting the factions against each other, saying, "Plans are all right sometimes. And sometimes just stirring things up is all right." This "stir-it-up novel" is filled with offhanded shootings, explosions, and murder by icepick. The carnage is colorfully expressed in passages where the Op says, "We bumped over dead Hank O'Meara's legs and headed for home" and "Be still while I get up or I'll make an opening in your head for brains to leak in." Don't expect plausibility, but do look for the snappy dialogue, strong characters (especially in the Op), and writing style that moves fast. Time magazine included "Red Harvest" in its list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1922 to 2005. Literary critic Andre Gide also called the novel "the last word in atrocity, cynicism and horror." Hammett's "Red Harvest" has given us a sub-genre of the crime/adventure/detective novel that might be termed "the man with no name." "Red Harvest" can lay claim to being the successor to the classic Western - not the Sherlock Holmes "whodunit." The novel's amazing power and plotting led movie director Akira Kurosawa to create "Yojimbo," focusing on a freelance samurai who confronts town's warring factions. Look for thematic vestiges of Hammett's novel also in Sergio Leone's "spaghetti Westerns" with Clint Eastwood and in John Sturges's "The Magnificent Seven." "Red Harvesst" is the novel that started an epic genre.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 6, 2011

    So good, we named our son Dash

    An amazing novel encompassing several related stories set in "Poisonville." Hammet is a master of hard-boiled detective stories and this is his finest work.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Gritty and Enjoyable

    The general style of the novel was intriguing from the onset. We're dropped into a gritty first person narration from an unnamed character as he wanders the streets of 'Poisonville' to meet some unknown client and then, later, to solve the murder of that client.

    I really enjoyed the way the details of the story were presented. The writing was very detailed and the narrator conveyed his thoughts and perceptions very well. With the tight first person narration, the mystery for the characters was just as much a mystery to us. Even simple details such as names and places seemed to come on a "need to know basis." Thus, there existed the mystery of the crime to be solved, as well as the mystery of what details were being withheld from the reader and why.

    As the story progressed, I grew attached to the protagonist as a cynical hard-nosed detective of the sort who "always gets his man." When he solved the murder, I was impressed by the logic involved and by his way of seeing through the prejudices and smokescreens around the case.

    The way the case was solved was quite unlike a Holmesian solution in that there weren't any telltale clues at the crime scene or analysis of fingerprints or paper fibers. Instead, the Continental Op made a logical supposition and then through manipulative and threatening speech worked enough of a confession out of the killer to close the case. It reminded me of the intimidation tactics seen in so many of the crime movies and TV shows today.

    I expected the confession to be incorrect since so much of the novel was left unread. Instead of letting the murder unravel, the plot took a different turn that I rather enjoyed. The corrupt "head" of Poisonville asks the Op to clean up the town and gives him carte blanche to do so.

    The resulting manipulative method of setting crook against crook was a lot of fun. What was interesting to me, as the city grew more and more corrupt, was that our protagonist had become an antihero. Instead of the altruistic detectives of other early crime novels, the Continental Op was secretive, manipulative, vengeful and dishonest. He had an end goal in mind and he planned to achieve it at any cost. While he wasn't actually running a bootlegging or gambling operation himself, he largely became as corrupt as those he hunted. He compromised those around him who may be innocent or, at least, less corruptible.

    Finally, he fell beyond the point of no return and concluded his downward spiral. At that point, I had no idea whether or not the story would allow the Op to be redeemed or if he would simply succeed in cleaning up Poisonville and then leave it a tainted and broken operative, ready to take his cynicism to the next case. While the Op did end the novel a bit more hardened and broken than when he started, the resolution did lighten some of his burden and return his respectability.

    I definitely enjoyed my experience with this book. Looking to the few books I've read from the Victorian era, I can see numerous stark differences. The dialog was much harsher than that of a Sherlock Holmes story and the violence was more over the top and graphic than the Victorian Gothic novels I've read. The mystery was tight and well organized, but the clues were extracted more through force and intimidation than through insight and deduction.

    Good fun and I look forward to more.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Gritty Fun Reading

    Hammett is probably best known for The Maltese Falcon (and what an excellent read that is too) but I think Red Harvest is even better. As a newcomer to the mystery genre I decided to start with reading the "founding fathers" of American crime, Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. I have read several of each and have yet to be disappointed. Red Harvest is still at the top of my list of these two writers.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2002

    Mayhem and Amorality in a Western Mining town

    This is a hard tale of a hard guy, a nameless private detective, who arrives in the western mining town of Personville (called "Poisonville" by many of its criminal denizens who hail from points east) to meet a client . . . only to learn that the client has been murdered on the very night of their scheduled meeting. The client was the son of the town's wealthiest citizen, an aging tycoon who, to beat back the unionization of the miners he employs, has invited all manner of gangsters and hard cases into town to break the unions. But, in breaking them for him, the gangsters have moved in for good and taken over running things, setting up their own rackets, controlling the police and sucking the old man into their schemes since they have so much "on him." The detective (known only as the Continental operative throughout) approaches the tycoon about the murder of his son and soon conceives the notion of cleaning the place up, whether the old man wants him to or not. Playing the various sides off against one another, the detective embarks on a cold-hearted, calculated odyssey to win the confidence of one gangster after another, in order to turn each against the other (shades of Yojimbo!). In the process, the detective, himself, gets drawn into the bloody maelstrom he has created through his various betrayals until, sinking into the same moral morass as all the others, he finds himself waist deep in murder with only the shakiest of alibis and a profound sense of his own moral surrender. The body count mounts as one gangster after another is betrayed by our apparently amoral "Continental op", until the very pegs on which the town has been hung are shaken loose. The real mystery here is less who killed the detective's original client than who killed the detective's own victim . . . and how will he manage to extricate himself from the violent and bloody depths he has plunged the town of Poisonville, and himself, into. Lots of blackmail and mayhem and bloodshed here and a real sense of lost moral bearings. This detective, for all his good intentions seems no better, in many ways, than the criminal element he has set out to undermine. In the end he does pull himself out of the fire and manages to see the job through, but we are left with a clear sense of amorality that makes this nameless detective little better than the crooks he has overthrown. In fact some of them, like Whisper Thaler, seem a hell of a lot more honorable . . . and likeable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2002

    Great Detective Fiction

    Dashiell Hammett¿s ¿Red Harvest¿ is the story of one man¿s crusade against an entire town. The story begins with a nameless detective from San Francisco arriving in a small Montana mining town that the locals call ¿Poisonville¿. On arrival, he finds that his client has been murdered. He is then contracted by Elihu Willson, father of the murdered man and owner of the local newspaper, to find his son¿s killer. After finding the killer, he is given ten thousand dollars to clean the corrupt town of its warring gangs and corrupt police force. Like a good detective he forms false alliances with all sides, playing one faction against another. Consequently, the town of Poisonville then becomes even more tumultuous and the detective often finds himself in situations where he has to operate outside of his jurisdiction. "Red Harvest" is a success because of Hammett¿s dialogue, which reveals his dry, ironic sense of humor. Hammett`s stylized use of excessive violence is also beneficial to the story. His style is to use the least amount of words, for the most impact. The often cartoon-like violence amplifies the overall theme. Hammett does this to show that widespread corruption ultimately leads to the debasing of an honest individual. In Hammett¿s mind no one is innocent. Everyone in the whole town has blood on his hands and a reason to kill. When sixteen murders in a town of forty thousand occur in less than a week, the detective fears that, for some strange reason, he¿s starting to like the violence. "If I don't get away soon I'll be going blood simple like the natives," says the detective. "I've arranged a killing or two in my time, when they were necessary. But this is the first time I've ever got the fever" Hammett¿s sharp, casual dialogue shows the absurd irony that the only way the town will be cleansed is if everyone in it dies.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2001

    A TOWN READY TO EXPLODE, AND THE OP LIGHTS THE FUSE!!!

    Red Harvest is one of Dashiell Hammett's best, and the Op's greatest adventure in novel form. The Op is hired to clean up a town and he causes it to erupt in gang warfare. This is Hammett's first novel and like all of his work it's well-crafted and well-writen.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)