I enjoy reading Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels. I probably shouldn’t – these things are violent. The hero and the bad guys leave a trail of bodies and bruises from one end of the book to the other. 

I was surprised to find out that the genre is not new. I probably shouldn’t be – there is nothing new under the sun.

I recently finished reading a big book of all Dashiell Hammett’s novels. There are five of them, including The Maltese Falcon and The Thin Man. (side note: those movies are great. The first Jack Reacher movie was OK. Tom Cruise is not Jack Reacher. End of discussion.)

The first of Hammett’s novels is 1929’s Red Harvest. Given the body count of around two dozen, you can guess what makes the harvest that color.

The later books are not as gory as the first, but his short stories are very reminiscent of Reacher – smooth and understated, strongly masculine without being macho, and slyly humorous. In one short story, a policeman comes into money but doesn’t change his habits, including very low end cigars. The unnamed narrator, working for Continental Op, calls it a “cigar-thing”. That’s funny.

I found Lee Child before I found Dashiell Hammett. I’m glad I kept going. 

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