When Sam Spade gets drawn into the Maltese Falcon case, we know what to expect: straight talk, hard questions, no favors, and no way for anyone to get underneath the protective shell he wears like a second skin. We know that his late partner, Miles Archer, was a son of a bitch; that Spade is sleeping with Archers wife, Iva; that his tomboyish secretary, Effie Perine, is the only innocent in his life. What we dont know is how Spade became who he is. Spade & Archer completes the picture.
1921: Spade sets up his own agency in San Francisco and clients quickly start coming through the door. The next seven years will see him dealing with booze runners, waterfront thugs, stowaways, banking swindlers, gold smugglers, bumbling cops, and the illegitimate daughter of Sun Yat-sen; with murder, other mens mistresses, and long-missing money. Hell bring in Archer as a partner, though it was Archer who stole his girl while he was fighting in World War I. Hell tangle with a villain who never loses his desire to make Spade pay big for ruining what shouldve been the perfect crime. And hell fall in lovethough it wont turn out for the best. It never does with dames...
Spade & Archer is a gritty, pitch-perfect, hard-boiled novelthe work of a master mystery writerdestined to become a classic in its own right.
Faced with a momentous task, Gores inevitably stumbles, and if you come to the book expecting a perfectly executed exemplar of the genre you will be disappointed. Where Gores succeeds is in breathing life into a story that has been left at loose ends for more than half a century. (Reviewed by Micah Gell-Redman).
New York Times - David Gates
[I]f anyone had to write this book, Gores would be the guy. .... Gores doesn’t call himself a Hammett scholar, but he’s clearly an obsessive — and for a writer of the 21st century, this obsession isn’t entirely wholesome.
Los Angeles Times - Sara Weinman
The net effect is uneven, but never less than entertaining.
Cleveland Plain Dealer - Rollie Welch Spade & Archer amounts to a fine re-imagining, and a relief from the overworked tales of teenage heroes, wielding techno gadgets, saving the world.
San Francisco Chronicle - Cara Black
Gores pulls the reader in with Hammett-style sparse economy and telling details. He paints every scene vividly, evocatively and with a savvy like Spade's own. Spade changes and is more hardened as he's forged by the city and the crime he investigates. Spade & Archer brims with plot twists, and just when the reader thinks "aha," the story switches back, and you never see it coming. Hammett would have approved. So would Sam Spade.
... Gores not only creates a compelling backstory for Spade but also does it so completely in the Hammett style that we suspend disbelief in an instant ... He’s equally on the mark with Hammett’s characters.
Library Journal - Bob Lunn
Starred Review. This homage should both please fans of the original and alert new readers to what they've been missing. As such, it is highly recommended for all public libraries.
Starred Review. Edgar-winner Gores has not only pulled off the Herculean task of writing a prequel to The Maltese Falcon but also created a rip-roaring yarn of his own.
Starred Review. ... Gores, a far more virtuoso plotter than Hammett, keeps multiple pots boiling furiously while providing a pitch-perfect replica of his master’s voice.
American Labor on the Docks
The Miles Archer character in Gores's novel has earned his tough-guy reputation by helping quell labor unrest on the docks of Seattle, in part by outing "Wobblies." For the unfamiliar, this plot line may be a bit confusing, but it is historically accurate, and adds welcome color to the novel's setting.
The history of American labor is one of conflict and compromise, and nowhere has this been more true than on the docks. Port cities were among the primary engines of economic growth in the country's early industrial period, and some of the first attempts to build labor unions were carried out by dockworkers (also called longshoremen and stevedores). The Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor, and the International Workers of the World (these are the "Wobblies" Gores refers to) all had a hand in dock-side organizing, though their tactics differed.
As the film On the Waterfront so eloquently narrates, the structure of longshoremen's work lends itself to corruption, collusion, and often...
San Francisco's Chinatown, 1940: Miranda Corbie, a private investigator, stumbles upon the fatally shot body of Eddie Takahashi. The Chamber of Commerce wants it covered up. The cops acquiesce. But Miranda wants justice - whatever it costs.
Walter Mosley, "one of crime fiction's brightest stars," returns to mysteries at last! Fearless Jones is a dazzling new thriller, set in 1950s L.A. and featuring the most engaging hero since Easy Rawlins.
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