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Red Harvest

Red Harvest - Dashiell Hammett The review is updated on May 9, 2016.

A group read with a bunch of Pantaloonless Buddies.

Welcome to Poisonville I mean Personville, population 40,000. The local policemen are very friendly and truly enjoy doing their job:
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 — directed traffic, with a cigar in one corner of his mouth. After that I stopped checking them up.

All the people are very eager to help during a murder investigation:
'Who shot him’ I asked.
The grey man scratched the back of his neck and said: ‘Somebody with a gun.’

You really cannot get any more helpful than this.

If you ever get in legal trouble, there is always a very competent and affordable lawyer available:
He's the guy that the joke was wrote about: "Is he a criminal lawyer?" "Yes, very."

Of all classic hard-boiled novels, this one has a record of having maximum number of dead bodies per page. To give an idea, one of the chapters in about two thirds of the book is titled Seventeenth Murder; this is most definitely not the last one. A nameless narrator from Continental detective agency is invited to a city for corruption investigation by the city tycoon's son. Unfortunately, by the time the MC arrives, his potential employer is already killed. It does not take a genius to realize the city is rules by criminals with the entire police department being on their payroll and chief of the department being a member of criminal gang (reminds me of my city now).

So, does it mean the end of the mission for the MC? Not in the least. He forces the father of the victim to hire him to rid the city from criminals. What is the best way to do it without outside help? Turn them on each other. This is where the bodies start piling up. Double-crossings, back-stabbings, military-type operations of one gang against the other, and a single guy trying to just stay alive after kicking the hornet's nest – repeatedly when things slow down.

Not a single person in the book appears to be nice, including the main character. The guy scares himself when he realized he began enjoying putting bad guys against each other and watching the resulting fireworks. He admits that this way of cleaning the city is much easier and probably more effective than the legal one.

This is non-stop action with not a single page being boring, a wild roller-coaster ride: 5 stars. I only have one question remaining: where the heck is The Continental Op when you need him?