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Lost Stories (The Ace Performer Collection series)

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Dashiell Hammett

Diehard fans of hard-boiled king Dashiell Hammett have craved a collection like this for decades, gathering fiction currently unavailable in book form, plus a handful of tales never reprinted anywhere. Period illustrations embellish certain stories, … see full wiki

Tags: Book
Author: Dashiell Hammett
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Vince Emery Productions
1 review about Lost Stories (The Ace Performer Collection...

Hammett Gets Revisited In These LOST STORIES

  • Nov 19, 2010
  • by
Rating:
+5
I have to perfectly honest: after the first chapter and first story, I was convinced that this book was going to be, largely, a forgettable exploration of the smaller, lesser, and perhaps even unknown works of Dashiell Hammett, arguably one of the singlemost unacknowledged literary genius of our times. Hammett's crisp, clean prose has influenced hundreds if not thousands of writers, not to mention the influence his work has had on countless readers of noir and even general crime fiction. Compiler and author Emery points out that the contemporary crime novel really owes its legacy to Hammett, who brushed aside the literary tradition of the elitist ubermensch as detectives and, instead, focused on less honest, far from perfect, flawed central characters who still managed to solve the case without tossing "justice" -- far more important to today's readers than "law" -- out the window.

However, after realizing that what truly mattered here through Emery's contribution was revisiting Hammett's artful prose not so much against the perspective of only world history but equally against the private, personal, flawed life of the author. Stories are broken up with Emery's biographical summation, and it becomes much easier to see how Hammett's own life -- the people, the places, the persuasions both good and bad -- helped contribute to the overall shape and spectacle that was to become these works and the larger works such as THE MALTESE FALCON and THE THIN MAN novels. Hammett's prose takes center stage here, but, under Emery's direction, it shares screen time with Hammett, a writer arguably as flawed as he was gifted.

The final accomplishment here is the principle reason for the five-star review: there's no way any reader can go back and enjoy any of Hammett's work WITHOUT rethinking what influenced the work. The stories will all have new meaning, and, quite possibly, you'll never read one of Hammett's handful of novels without turning back to LOST STORIES to get a better grasp of the personal context under which the tome was written.

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