Love and jealousy erupt into violence in The Crazy Kill, a classic thriller in Chester Himes's trailblazing Harlem Detectives series.
One early morning, Reverend Short is watching from his bedroom window as the A&P across the street is robbed. As he tries to see the thief get away, the opium-addicted preacher leans too far and falls out--but he is unscathed, thanks to an enormous bread basket outside the bakery downstairs. As the crowd gathers to see what happened, a shocking discovery is made: There is another body in the bread basket, and Valentine Haines is dead, really dead. It's up to Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson ti find out who murdered Val.
About the Author
Chester (Bomar) Himes began his writing career while serving in the Ohio State Penitentiary for armed robbery from 1929 - 1936. His account of the horrific 1930 Penitentiary fire that killed over three hundred men appeared in Esquire in 1932 and from this Himes was able to get other work published. From his first novel, If He Hollers Let Him Go (1945), Himes dealt with the social and psychological repercussions of being black in a white-dominated society. Beginning in 1953, Himes moved to Europe, where he lived as an expatriate in France and Spain. There, he met and was strongly influenced by Richard Wright. It was in France that he began his best-known series of crime novels---including Cotton Comes to Harlem (1965) and Run Man Run (1966)---featuring two Harlem policemen Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. As with Himes's earlier work, the series is characterized by violence and grisly, sardonic humor.
“[Himes] put a spin on crime fiction—emphasizing urban atmosphere, street smarts and uptown carryings-on—unlike anything the genre had previously seen.”
—The Boston Globe
“One of the most important American writers of the 20th century. . . . A quirky American genius.”
“A perverse blend of sordid realism and macabre fantasy-humor.”
—The New York Times
“For sheer toughness it’s hard to beat the black detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. Himes never received the recognition he deserved for his books—they combine elements of George V. Higgins, Elmore Leonard, and Richard Stark, with a bleak vision all their own.”
—The Washington Post