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First off, there could not be a better narrator for these Chester Himes books. Dion Graham brings them to life more than if you were reading the book yourself. This was my very first introduction to Himes, and I am glad I started here although someone who likes a traditional story might dislike this one. This book is very wild and disjointed. Many of the chapters do not fit with each other to make a coherent picture. I've laughed out loud while reading this book, but also its sad in many ways. I was reading this book simultaneously while reading a book about soldiers in WWII. So, I had this book which is about all the hustlers and dregs of society and all of America's racism boiling over, then the other book about what heroes in this country look and act like. You should not read this book if you want to feel good about the country. If you want to see seething black rage towards whites, rampant prostitution, and violence... then this is good. With that said, I think one could miss the theme of this book. It's overall message. Without top notch writing and narration, it would have been worthless trash.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
I'm almost finished with my first listen to Chester Himes' Coffin Ed/Gravedigger books. Chester Himes was one of the predecessors to many detective novelists today (along with those before him, i.e. Chandler, Hammett, etc) who was largely ignored by the media due to his color. Only now, due to the resurgence of awareness AND admiration for minority writers (Walter Mosley, Junot Diaz, etc.) and the acceptance of minority voices in all forms of literature, are Himes' mysteries being reprinted and now voiced by Dion Graham. The stories themselves can appear as campy pulp fiction, but Himes' writing, and Graham's voice overshadow any cartoonish happenings with Ed & Gravedigger. It's really good to see that Audible & the publishing industry are opening doors and making one of the forgotten writers on the 20th century available to all of us.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful