I put Chester Himes right up there on the top shelf with Cain, Chandler and Hammett. A Rage in Harlem is an excellent introduction to the characters of Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. This is a funny, fast-paced and gritty look at 1950's Harlem. Read this and you'll become a fan of Chester Himes.— From Mark B.
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.
“Himes undertook to do for Harlem what Raymond Chandler did for Los Angeles.”
“One of the most important American writers of the 20th century. . . . A quirky American genius.”
“Himes wrote spectacularly successful entertainments, filled with gems of descriptive writing, plots that barely sidestep chaos, characters surreal, grotesque, comic, hip, Harlem recollected as a place that can make you laugh, cry, shudder.”
—John Edgar Wideman
“Himes’s Harlem saga vies with the novels of David Goodis and Jim Thompson as the inescapable achievement of postwar American crime fiction.”
—The New York Times