(Original Review, 1999-12-10)
When one wants to elect the best of Dashiell Hammet, one invariably chooses “The Maltese Falcon”, Classic that it is, but instead I would go for Dashiell Hammett’s short novel, “Nightmare Town” as one of my favourites. The set up is brilliant and the wider issues - American criminality, capitalism, the mirage of consumption - is all combined with some brilliant intrigue, weird characters, and clean hard boiled prose. Unlike the Sam Spade novels, though, “Nightmare Town” has kind of palpable energy and ambition that gives it greater flavor as well as substance.
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