Wednesday, May 7, 2014

A RAGE IN HARLEM by Chester Himes


*Book 1 of the Harlem Cycle*

This is was first book by Chester Himes and I loved it! It was exciting, well-written, darkly comic, and unexpectedly absurd while still being hard-boiled to its core. Because of his love for his sexy lady-friend, the loose, conniving, high-yellow Imabelle (“She smelled of burnt hair-grease, hot-bodied woman, and dime-store perfume.”), simple and square working man Jackson loses all of his money to some con men, setting off a chain reaction that leads to a funeral home robbery, acid throwing, a runaway hearse, and a plot involving a trunk full of 18-karat gold ore. In order to navigate this dangerous terrain, Jackson gets the help of his resourceful twin brother Goldy, who makes his living impersonating a Sister of Mercy nun, soliciting bogus charity donations and selling tickets to heaven on the streets of Harlem. 

Sounds awesome doesn't it? It gets even better.

Here's a sample:
"She held him at arms’ length, looked at the pipe still gripped in his hand, then looked at his face and read him like a book. She ran the tip of her red tongue slowly across her full cushiony, sensuous lips, making them wet-red and looked him straight in the eyes with her own glassy, speckled bedroom eyes. 
The man drowned. 
When he came up, he stared back, passion cocked, his whole black being on a live-wire edge. Ready! Solid ready to cut throats, crack skulls, dodge police, steal hearses, drink muddy water, live in a hollow log, and take any rape-fiend chance to be once more in the arms of his high-yellow heart.”

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