Detective-story master Dashiell Hammett gives us yet another unforgettable read in Red Harvest: 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.
An unnamed detective arrives in Personville (nicknamed "Poisonville" by its residents) too late to help his client, who lies shot dead in an alley. It doesn't take the detective long to figure out that this murder is the least of Poisonville's problems, and he decides to stay and clean up the nasty company town on his own. Despite this somewhat confusing story line, Richard Ferrone provides lucid and compelling narration and perfectly captures Hammett's tough guy wit. His rendition of gangster Max "Whisper" Thaler is among the many highlights: he provides a voice that is clear but hoarse and totally lives up to the character's name. Ferrone also gives Whisper's girlfriend a classic bad dame voice that all but invites trouble, and provides corrupt police chief Noonan with a jovial Irish brogue that masks evil intentions. Although the tale is hopelessly convoluted and overpopulated, listeners will have great fun rooting for the unnamed detective to get out of town alive. A Vintage paperback.