I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.
-Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
-Phillip K. Dick

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett

Genre: Mystery / Gumshoe / Detective / Noir / Classic

This is a story about a detective named Sam Spade who is seen as a possible suspect in the murder of his partner Miles Archer.  He soon finds himself chasing after a black statue called the Maltese Falcon, while at the same time trying to clear his name.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A treasure worth killing for. Sam Spade, a slightly shopworn private eye with his own solitary code of ethics. A perfumed grafter named Joel Cairo, a fat man name Gutman, and Brigid O'Shaughnessy, a beautiful and treacherous woman whose loyalties shift at the drop of a dime. These are the ingredients of Dashiell Hammett's coolly glittering gem of detective fiction, a novel that has haunted three generations of readers

What an amazing novel.  I expected to like this after having read Red Harvest and enjoying it mildly, but this was freaking awesome.  It was only my second Noir novel, and no disappointments here. I was definitely not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did. 

So why did I enjoy it so much?  Sam Spade is an excellent character based off of Dashiell himself, which probably is why it's so good because he knew enough about himself to write about his reactions. I found myself smiling, laughing, and contemplating as I read through this book, Spade capturing most of my intrigue.  He's the type of guy who lives by his own rules, and plays things quite by ear.  He seems to have a good understanding of the world around him and the events taking place before him. 

I couldn't for one second guess what was going to happen next. 

I haven't seen the movie for this, but I find myself wishing I could land myself a copy to watch after having read this.  I know it would pale in comparison to this novel, but that's besides the point. 

I absolutely loved the storyline.  It's basically a tale about a mysterious black falcon that various characters are after for the soul purpose of obtaining something worth a fortune of which nobody truly tells how much.  It was a story full of characters who were full of lies and deceit.

By the end of the book I found myself feeling like I understood Sam Spade down to his emotional bones.  This is by far one of my favorite books of all time.

It's been a while since I've come across any 5 star novels, and this one is by far one of the greatest I have ever read.

Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

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