Book info

The Heat's On (1988)

The Heat's On (1988)
Author
Rating
3.96 of 5 Votes: 2
ISBN
0394759974 (ISBN13: 9780394759975)
languge
English
series
publisher
vintage
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The Heat's On (1988)
The Heat's On (1988)

About book: Chester Himes, the author left for Paris in the late 20s and never returned. Still his Harlem is the city of fun and the weird. Again he thrills with albinos, midgets, voodoo goddess and the con that makes the scam that results in murder. Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones are on the scene. The get smoked out by racist cops from the burroughs lower precincts, but once they have information to connect Harlem, they are there.I may have written this before but Chester Himes and Jim Thompson are my favorite Noir writers. Others prefer Daschell Hammet and John B. McDonald, but between the two that I prefer you will always see the whole segment of the world they lived in. The favorites wrote for Hollywood. Chester Himes and Jim Thompson never had a movie deal in their life. They wrote the stories they wanted to tell. Chester Himes is historically significant because not only did he write crime novels about Harlem, before he left for Paris he also wrote neighborhood histories.If you want to be a real person you need to know the work of Chester Himes. His characters are the periphery that you would otherwise not have. His knowledge of the language ad style will never be duplicated but he is not celebrated the same as others. That alone is a national shame. The fact that his books would also make great movies remains a troublesome. At the same time, who is honest enough to give it credence?

Books like this are one good reason not to peruse the bestseller list for something to read. The prose is tight, with just enough detail to give the reader a flavor, but not interfere with the pace.With characters named Coffin Ed, Grave Digger, and Pinky a decent writer has to get out of the way of the story, which is what Himes did. The backdrop is 1950s Harlem, and Himes had enough experience with crime to know what he was writing about.The book is fast paced, easy on the eyes, interesting from the historical perspective, with enough touches of humor to keep the mood good.
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Reviews
Sarah
This book continues Himes' tradition of offbeat & dangerous characters. Sister Heavenly leads this cast of drug dealers, charlatans and murderers. Anything to get the money, the drugs & the treasure map.This time, Gravedigger Jones takes a bullet, gets laid up in the hospital and eventually slips into a coma. Coffin Ed Johnson is on the case alone. Oh, I forgot to mention that their badges were revoked, so while tracking the suspects, they were really working as vigilantes. Does Coffin Ed step away from the case? Hell, no. His partner & best friend is in the hospital and must be avenged. So, he polishes their matching revolvers and tracks the offenders "with homicide in his eyes".This book goes further than the previous ones in showing the deep connection between these two men. The proof is when hard-boiled Coffin Ed finds out Gravedigger is gonna make it: he breaks down in tears that stream down his acid-scarred face & says that that's the only thing that mattered about the case.
Srinivas Prasad Veeraraghavan
I was looking forward to reading Himes' Harlem Classics for a long time and boy, did it live up to the hype?!Weaving astringent prose that crackles with acerbic bit and a proclivity to cynicism into a classic "tough guy" tale bristling with brutal violence and carefully orchestrated chaos; Himes pulls no punches in his characteristic no-holds-barred way as "Coffin" Ed & "Grave Digger" Jones (How fucking cool are those names?!) deal with murderous hopheads,fiendishly deceptive halfwits,madames who'd slit throats without so much as bat an eyelid and slimy pushers on the run in the only way they know and believe in.Brutal, evocative and as tough as Oklahoma Teak. Only tougher. \m/
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