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Blind Man with a Pistol by Chester Himes
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Showing 5 of 5
Good, but this one felt a bit more disjointed. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 4, 2017 |
3.5 stars
Two Harlem cops are following two cases in Harlem at a time of racial tension and outbreak of riots and demonstration. The characters are odd and mostly corrupt or powerless police (with the exception of the two protagonists, two African American detectives whose beat is Harlem), prostitutes, criminals, some strange cultist types, etc. Characters are not really well developed and this is more driven by the cases and the stories about the riots.

Amazon described this as grotesquely comic and unflinchingly violent so I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. I did not hate it, there were parts that were entertaining and within the story there was some interesting commentary about race relationships in the North East. I liked the two detectives Coffin Ed and Grave Digger. There were definitely several very graphic descriptions of the violence and some very vivid imagery that I could have done without. There was something oddly engaging about the book but I can’t quite describe what I liked – this is normally not the type of book I would enjoy. The main problem for me was that I was so confused half the time that I didn’t know what was going on. Lots of characters, many fairly similar and thus I had a hard time following who did what and how everything was connected. I am not sure if this was me (reading too many books right now) or the book.
( )
  JenPrim | Jan 15, 2016 |
At some point, my optimism and I have to part ways; it’s either sadistic or I’m a dumbass who can’t even learn as well as a pigeon or both. I’ve looked forward to this book for several months and even after it became clear it was a disappointment I kept reading on the off-chance it would get better (peck the right disc, dumbass!). But nope. The characters are flat. The book is vulgar without wit, like a teenager who mutters “cock” at the dinner table and then looks around to see if he can have the satisfaction of disapproval. Nothing is fleshed out (except for the descriptions of massive tangles of pubic hair) or pursued, which would be okay if the writing was good enough to sustain nothing, but it isn’t, not by a long shot. What I imagine is supposed to be commentary on American racial relations is about what you’d expect from a lazy high schooler’s term paper. In short, this book sucks and I suck for actually finishing it.

By the way, if racial (and gender) slurs offend you (those for both blacks and whites), then for the love of the white patriarchy’s sky god, don’t read this book.
( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
Harlem, a summer in the late 1960s: temperatures are sweltering, and its residents are becoming more agitated and tense, fueled by a series of protests and violent murders that threaten to tear the neighborhood's fragile structure apart. Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, two of NYC's finest detectives, are called upon to solve these crimes and help restore order. The two encounter a variety of odd and unsavory characters, including a preacher who claims to be 100 years old and the father of innumerable children by the "nuns" who share a squalid flat with him, and an inscrutable gay counterman at a restaurant on 125th Street who knows far more than he will admit to. Despite their efforts, the tension and violence progressively escalate, as former allies become hated enemies.

The title of this book refers to Himes' comment about unorganized violence in the black community, fueled by community leaders that urged black men to act, often recklessly. I found this novel to be disjointed and difficult to follow, which made for an unpleasant read. I understand that his earlier novels are better than this one, particularly If He Hollers Let Him Go, so I'll try Himes again in the near future. ( )
  kidzdoc | Jan 31, 2011 |
The Detective Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson Harlem crime novels are originals with few precedents (with perhaps THE CONJURE-MAN DIES by Rudolph Fisher being one). Many of them were indeed published as paperback originals in this country.
  zenosbooks | Feb 25, 2009 |
Showing 5 of 5
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0394759982, Paperback)

At once grotesquely comic and unflinchingly violent, Blind Man With a Pistol is the final entry in Chester Himes's trailblazing Harlem Detectives series.
 
New York is sweltering in the summer heat, and Harlem is close to the boiling point. To Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, at times it seems as if the whole world has gone mad. Trying, as always, to keep some kind of peace—their legendary nickel-plated Colts very much in evidence—Coffin Ed and Grave Digger find themselves pursuing two completely different cases through a maze of knifings, beatings, and riots that threaten to tear Harlem apart.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:52 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

"New York is sweltering in the summer heat, and Harlem is close to the boiling point. To Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, at times it seems as if the whole world has gone mad. Trying, as always, to keep some kind of peace, their legendary nickel-plated Colts very much in evidence, Coffin Ed and Grave Digger find themselves pursuing two completely different cases through a maze of knifings, beatings, and riots that threaten to tear Harlem apart." -- Back cover.… (more)

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