Thursday, May 8, 2014



*Book 7 in the Harlem Cycle*

I was really in the mood for more of Chester Himes's Harlem Cycle books and this, the 7th book in the series, was the easiest one I could get my hand on at the moment. I'd read the first two books, A Rage in Harlem and The Real Cool Killers, and loved them. I had gathered that they don't need to be read completely in order, so I decided to jump into this one! In this installment, badass Harlem detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson rush to track down a slimy con man, who's been swindling hard-working Harlem families out of thousands in a phony Back-To-Africa movement, and ends up getting all of the money jacked. While investigating, the detectives discover that all roads seem to lead to a bale of Southern-grown cotton everyone seems to be interested in!

While not as awesome as the first two books, this one had the same dry wit and sly social criticism that I love from Himes! It was definitely entertaining, but I found that I prefer reading about the more colorful supporting characters and criminals over the detectives Grave Digger and Coffin Ed. Maybe that's why I prefer the first two novels in the series, where the detectives played more supporting roles. Also, a lot of the writing and ideas seem to be rehashed from the earlier novels. 

But no biggy! It was still irresistibly readable, and I look to reading the other 1950's Harlem adventures!

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