Nightmare Town: Stories Paperback – Sep 12 2000
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"Nightmare Town, with its crystalline prose as spare as Hammett himself, is a welcome treat." --The Baltimore Sun
"Hammett's work carries an authenticity and raw power that few writers, before or since, have been able to equal." --The San Diego Union-Tribune
"Hammett's legacy as a giant of crime fiction lives on. The stories are gritty and realistic, full of crisp, sparse dialogue. . . . Like the sting of whiskey as it goes down and the pungent smell of a strong cigar, Hammett's stories and characters don't fade quickly." --The Columbus Dispatch
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"Hammett's pioneering hard-boiled style has been much imitated, but the original--packs a wallop."--"The New Yorker
Here are twenty long-unavailable stories by the master who brought us The Maltese Falcon. Laconic coppers, lowlifes, and mysterious women double- and triple-cross their colleagues with practiced nonchalance. A man on a bender awakens in a small town with a dark mystery at its heart. A woman confronts a brutal truth about her husband. Here is classic noir: hard-boiled descriptions to rival Hemingway, verbal exchanges punctuated with pistol shots and fisticuffs. Devilishly plotted, whip-smart, impassioned, Nightmare Town is a treasury of tales from America's poet laureate of the dispossessed.
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The stories assembled for Nightmare Town Stories are not up to Hammett's best, but they do offer - more Hammett. Of principle interest is "Who Killed Bob Teal", first copyrighted in 1924, it appeared in "True Detective Stories" and after much dressing up, it was later to become the outline for The Maltese Falcon. Compared to it's final fully developed form "Bob Teal's" sparse fifteen pages offer a glimpse into the Maltese Falcon's conception. This story utilizes Hammett's oft repeated concept that what happened (the mystery) could only have been - what could have happened.
Also of interest are three Sam Spade short storys and the first draft of the Thin Man, plus fifteen additional short stories. Although the stories of Nightmare Town are not up to Hammett's best they are still Hammett and as such offer his style and are thus often more rewarding than anything else available.
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