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[Reviews] The Thin ManA breezy sort of detective story that makes me wish Hammett explored these characters in additional novels.
If you're a fan of noir detective fiction but you haven't read this novel, fix that at the earliest opportunity.
If you've paid much attention to "noir" cinema at all, you've at least heard of a movie called The Maltese Falcon, which starred Humphrey Bogart in a tough-guy role that supposedly ranks among his best. I had heard of it, certainly, though I had never watched it. Then, as I've been working my way through mystery fiction over the last few years, I found out that the movie was based on a well regarded book, also called "The Maltese Falcon."
A twisting series of misadventures that together might just reveal a terrifying secret.
"The Dain Curse" is, from what I can tell, the second novel written by Dashiell Hammett, who I believe also wrote only two books about his fictional Continental detective agency. This one is the pseudo-sequel to his first novel, "Red Harvest," which felt enough different that I wasn't sure it even featured the same protagonist until very nearly the end.
There's a reason books like this one helped make the hard-boiled detective subgenre a thing. Don't miss it!
Somehow, I managed to reach my mid-30s without knowing about Dashiell Hammett, the classic American writer who many credit with creating the "hard-boiled detective" subgenre. He is famous for writing "The Maltese Falcon," a book I had heard referenced because it was apparently made into a popular movie, but that was his third novel. To see the first novel he ever produced, one must go further back, to "Red Harvest."
A few good laughs and some high stakes make for a better adventure than usual for this aging series.
I wish that I could read a new Stephanie Plum story and enjoy it as effortlessly as I did the early installments, but those days are long gone. Instead, I can typically expect a good story that amuses me but also leaves me wishing for better. "Top Secret Twenty-One," a recent installment in the series, lived up to lowered expectations.
                                                            
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