I hate to say it but maybe I just generally don’t particularly like Dashiell Hammet novels. This is my third one this year or second plus one last year, and for whatever reason, I don’t tend to follow them very easily, want to be reading them very much, or enjoy them during or after the process.
But this book is about local politics in the most violent of ways. The son of a senator is found dead and the lead in the novel, Ned Beaumont, is asked by the likely implicated local crime lord to disrupt the investigation into the death. He gets in over his head, things are twisting and turning, and voila.
I think what it comes down to for me is that there feels something anti-septic in the narration that allows or forces me to confront the plot, the style, and the narration, and this ends up working against me as a reader. I also feel like a lot of classics of genre fiction, there’s clearly significant influence happening here, in that this will become a book that is highly emulated for plot and style, but that doesn’t always means the original source is as good as other versions of it out there.
I think the opposite is working for me when I read Raymond Chandler novels — I still see the significant influence happening, but I also like the actual books themselves. And even then, I am not consistently blown away by them. So it goes.