From “the best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler” (San Francisco Chronicle) comes a hard-hitting, entertaining entry in the trailblazing Harlem Detectives series about two NYPD detectives who must piece together the clues of the scam of a lifetime.
Flim-flam man Deke O’Hara is no sooner out of Atlanta’s state penitentiary than he’s back on the streets working a big scam. As sponsor of the Back-to-Africa movement, he’s counting on a big Harlem rally to produce a massive collection—for his own private charity. But the take is hijacked by white gunmen and hidden in a bale of cotton that suddenly everyone wants to get his hands on. As NYPD detectives “Coffin Ed” Johnson and “Grave Digger” Jones face the complexity of the scheme, we are treated to Himes’s brand of hard-boiled crime fiction at its very best.
About the Author
CHESTER HIMES began his writing career while serving in the Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery from 1929 to 1936. From his first novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945), Himes dealt with the social and psychological repercussions of being black in a white-dominated society. Beginning in 1953, Himes moved to Europe, where he met and was strongly influenced by Richard Wright. It was in France that he began his best-known series of crime novels—including Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965)—featuring two Harlem policemen. As with Himes's earlier work, the series is characterized by violence and grisly, sardonic humor. He died in Spain in 1984.
“Chester Himes is the best writer of mayhem yarns since Raymond Chandler.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“One of the most important American writers of the 20th century.... A quirky American genius.” —Walter Mosley
“Chester Himes is one of the towering figures of the black literary tradition.... A master craftsman.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
“Every one of his beyond-cool Harlem novels is cherished by every reader who finds it.” —Jonathan Lethem
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