This is short crime novel by Chester Himes. This is among his most famous, if not his most famous. I’d previously read another from this series called The Real Cool Killers, that I remember liking, but don’t remember much of the specifics of that book.
I did like this one–it’s got a strong and curious voice–and there’s a great wildness to this book. It’s chaotic from the very beginning, involving a money laundering scheme, a pile of cash, two violent detectives, and a lot of shooting. But underneath all that wildness, I felt a little cold about it. It’s probably a case of wrong book, wrong time, but as I was reading, not only was I not particularly caught up in the plot outside of the action and drama, but there’s a real thread of homophobia and transphobia throughout. I would spend more time unpacking where it resides–within the narrative voice, the author, the characters or whatever combination of the three. But like I said, I was less thrilled by the book than I wanted to be, so I am less interesting in working through out.
I think I am still really interested in Chester Himes’s other books, especially If He Holler which I’ve heard is amazing, and there’s a well-regarded biography of him too. But this book felt limited for me .