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The Crazy Kill Paperback – December 17, 1989

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
Book 2 of 9 in the Harlem Detective Series

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“[Himes] put a spin on crime fiction—emphasizing urban atmosphere, street smarts and uptown carryings-on—unlike anything the genre had previously seen.”
    —The Boston Globe

“One of the most important American writers of the 20th century. . . . A quirky American genius.”
    —Walter Mosley

“A perverse blend of sordid realism and macabre fantasy-humor.”
    —The New York Times  
 
“For sheer toughness it’s hard to beat the black detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. Himes never received the recognition he deserved for his books—they combine elements of George V. Higgins, Elmore Leonard, and Richard Stark, with a bleak vision all their own.”
    —The Washington Post

About the Author

Chester Himes was born in Missouri in 1909. He began writing while serving a prison sentence for a jewel theft and published just short of twenty novels before his death in 1984. Among his best-known thrillers are Blind Man with a Pistol, Cotton Comes to Harlem, The Crazy Kill, A Rage in Harlem, The Real Cool Killers, and The Heat's On, all available from Vintage.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; Reissue edition (December 17, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679725725
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679725725
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #111,057 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Classic noir detective story that paints and engaging picture of life in Harlem. Most bizarre murder scene ever. Compelling characters.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I'm surprised that there are so few reviews for this work by Himes, whose output doesn't seem to be nearly well known enough for its grit and punch--or, if for nothing else, two of the best-named detectives in all of crime fiction: Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson.

THE CRAZY KILL is no cosy, and even though it was written back in the fifties, I wouldn't say it was tame by today's standards either, though it probably isn't nearly as shocking as it may have once been. I get the feeling Himes pushed the envelope pretty hard with this book--perhaps in all of his novels; this is the first I've read. It's like the direct ancestor of Iceberg Slim's books--and I'm sure Himes opened some doors for a more realistic tone when describing the culture of a place like Harlem. Or I suppose it is--I'm probably as well qualified to judge authenticity when depicting Harlem as I am Merovingian France. Still, Himes is convincing.

The plot of THE CRAZY KILL was a little hard to get a handle on at first, and there are several characters introduced right at the beginnning, so I had some trouble keeping everything straight, but eventually it seemed to settle down. At the wake of Big Joe Pullen--a patriarch of sorts for a loose-knit group of people--the brother-in-law of Big Joe's godson is found murdered, but who would want to murder the easy-going Val, and why? From there, Himes follows his cast of characters, exploring their lives and their profiles, while Coffin Ed and Gravedigger roam around in the background for the first half of the novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This books has a lots of characters, but they are easy to keep track of. It's the only book I've rear by Chester Hines, but I'll be looking for more written by him.
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By mr j on August 25, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
All his books are great Can't remember how I missed this one. Any fan of the Gravedigger and the Coffin Ed know how this works. love this as much as Blind Man With A Gun,
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read the author many years ago and looked for copies of his books and found two. Great reading.Good memories.
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