A Rage in Harlem

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Vintage Books, 1957 - Fiction - 159 pages
102 Reviews

A Rage in Harlem is a ripping introduction to Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, patrolling New York City's roughest streets in Chester Himes's groundbreaking Harlem Detectives series. 
For love of fine, wily Imabelle, hapless Jackson surrenders his life savings to a con man who knows the secret of turning ten-dollar bills into hundreds--and then he steals from his boss, only to lose the stolen money at a craps table. Luckily for him, he can turn to his savvy twin brother, Goldy, who earns a living--disguised as a Sister of Mercy--by selling tickets to Heaven in Harlem.  With Goldy on his side, Jackson is ready for payback.

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Astonishing. What a terrific writer. - Goodreads
The plot was a mess. - Goodreads
Flashes of brilliance in the muscular prose. - Goodreads
My new favourite writer. - Goodreads
Chester Himes superb writer. - Goodreads
The writing is both terse and descriptive. - Goodreads

Review: A Rage in Harlem (Harlem Cycle #1)

User Review  - Rita O'connell - Goodreads

Awesome imaging. Himes lets you taste, smell and see Harlem. Read full review

Review: A Rage in Harlem (Harlem Cycle #1)

User Review  - Phil Jensen - Goodreads

Himes subtly blends picaresque slapstick with an undercurrent of social commentary. For the first half of the novel, this was the most picaresque American book I've ever read- outrageous situations ... Read full review

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About the author (1957)

Chester (Bomar) Himes began his writing career while serving in the Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery from 1929 - 1936.  His account of the horrific 1930 Penitentiary fire that killed over three hundred men appeared inEsquirein 1932 and from this Himes was able to get other work published.  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 lived as an expatriate in France and Spain.  There, he met and was strongly influenced by Richard Wright.  It was in France that he began his best-known series of crime novels---includingCotton Comes to Harlem(1965) andRun Man Run(1966)---featuring two Harlem policemen Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson.  As with Himes's earlier work, the series is characterized by violence and grisly, sardonic humor.

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