The Harlem Cycle A Rage in Harlem; The Real Cool Killers; The Crazy Kill

The Harlem Cycle A Rage in Harlem; The Real Cool Killers; The Crazy Kill❰EPUB❯ ✺ The Harlem Cycle A Rage in Harlem; The Real Cool Killers; The Crazy Kill Author Chester Himes – Oaklandjobs.co.uk This collection of three novels presents Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones Harlem's toughest pair of cops Renowned for their meanness and always armed with their legendary nickel plated colts t This collection of three novels presents Cycle A Kindle ´ Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones Harlem's toughest pair of cops Renowned for their meanness and always armed with their legendary nickel plated colts they patrol the streets of Harlem and attempt to keep some semblance of law and order. The books of the Harlem Cycle starting with A Rage In Harlem are classic examples of the genre – there are hard bitten characters in extreme circumstances vain and bloody murder and reluctant witnesses twisted and arbitrary morality vested interests corrupting the unfolding of justice and above all there’s Himes’ particular take on the poetry of pulp fiction The effusive metaphor is a staple of the genre and the evocative analogies drawn by Himes are so rich they elevate the very concept Looking eastward from the towers of Riverside Church perched among the university buildings on the high banks of the Hudson River in a valley far below waves of gray rooftops distort the perspective like the surface of a sea Below the surface in the murky waters of fetid tenements a city of black people who are convulsed in desperate living like the voracious churning of millions of hungry cannibal fish Blind mouths eating their own guts Stick in a hand and draw back a nubIt’s pretty much all like that and that should be all the recommendation anyone needs to read at least A Rage In Harlem But it’s not the main way in which The Harlem Cycle goes from thoroughly satisfying and entertaining to genuinely great The main way is pacing and anyone who picks up the first book in the series will know exactly what that means as they’re nearing the end of the last and wondering where the time wentThe events of the series follow one another with subplots often overlapping from one book to the next and they occur in real time In fact they occasionally occur faster than real time as time folds into itself in a manner that would be awkward and obliue handled any less deftly but in The Harlem Cycle the trick either dazzles with its simplicity or passes unnoticed altogetherAmong other conseuences of this uniue pacing such as a feral drive to know what’s on the next page is the slightly surreal sensation that this is all actually happening – as though Himes has suealed up next to you on the street and given you a single second to jump on the running board before tearing off into the night pursued by sirens and mobs and gunfire and something intangible and foreboding Hence the story structure is unorthodox and unpredictable and you’re not uite sure if the homicidal detectives Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones are on your side or the side of the law or even how long they’ll last as main charactersDoubtless when these books were first published they were revolutionary for other reasons related to Himes’ race and background and of course they still bear this legacy with pride and poise but they’ve nevertheless emerged from that dark era of American history as sui generis classics I had to give up halfway through A Rage in Harlem I couldn't understand why his books are remembered As crime writing it was far inferior to the likes of Chandler Hammett James Ellroy or Jim Thompson As gritty authentic writing about African American street life it is far inferior to Iceberg Slim I just couldn't be arsed to keep reading the stupid implausible plot and shitty prose In the introduction by Melvin Van Peebles Himes doesn't seem to take himself too seriously as a writer writing exactly the word count he has to deliver and nothing and he refers to his books as action novels so I don't see why we are supposed to take him seriously as a novelist Oh wait I do The French discovered him first The first two books feature at least three scenes so far of black people rooking white authorities by acting crazy because white folks will believe anything or at least they'll believe anything that involves black people acting insane stupid or violent I suspect that this is Himes revealing the truth behind the pyrotechnic absurdist violence of his mysteries to an audience completely incapable of getting the joke or even that a joke is being told I wouldn't in other words take this as anything like social realism Himes is brashly and hyperbolically artificialMore on A Rage in Harlem I recently heard a reading of Cotton Comes to Harlem on BBC radio by the always superb Hugh uarrie and was completely blown away I immediately sought out the beginning of the Harlem cycle and was pleased to find this volume of the first three books Unputdownable incredible pace crackling dialogue sparing yet vivid language My only complaint is that the detective duo Grave Digger and Coffin Ed are little than ciphers next to the colourful cast of murderers robbers and whores and it's hard to feel much for them

The Harlem Cycle A Rage in Harlem; The Real Cool Killers;
  • Paperback
  • 512 pages
  • The Harlem Cycle A Rage in Harlem; The Real Cool Killers; The Crazy Kill
  • Chester Himes
  • English
  • 02 June 2016
  • 9780862415969