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The Crazy Kill Paperback – December 17, 1989
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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—The Boston Globe
“One of the most important American writers of the 20th century. . . . A quirky American genius.”
“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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›