Books Magazine

This Is The Original Detective Novel

By Robert Bruce @robertbruce76

One of the many things I love about reading through the Time list is the opportunity I’ve had to read a lot of groundbreaking fiction.

Many of these books were the first of their kind. And if they weren’t the “first,” they were at least the books that made the genres popular.

Red Harvest absolutely fits into that mold. If you read this novel without context or background, you might think it’s just another detective novel—like thousands of others. But Red Harvest is so well done, so before its time, that I believe it sets itself apart even if it was written 10 years ago instead of in 1929.

As I mentioned in my post on Tuesday about the novel’s opener, you could read the whole novel with a wise guy detective voice in your head. It’s spot on. In the comments, Aeolianlyre mentioned that she read the opening paragraph with Humphrey Bogart’s voice in her head, and that’s exactly the tone the novel gives you.

The Continental Op is the unnamed narrator sent to a small town in Montana to investigate corruption. As you might guess, things spiral out of control once he gets there. That’s where the story begins.

It’s a short novel, but we all need a short novel every now and then right? Not only that, but it’s a good short novel so I should have this one finished up soon.

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