COTTON COMES TO HARLEM by Chester Himes

COTTON COMES TO HARLEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This is a grisly parody, black, brown and beige, in the Spillane school of mayhem. Two Negro plainclothesmen in Harlem are searching for $87,000 hijacked from the ""treasury"" of the Back-to-Africa Movement. The two cops are Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. Coffin Ed, a raging sadist, has had his face disfigured by a vial of acid, while Grave Digger sports various bullet holes and scars and has a neck that swells like a hooded cobra about to strike. The loot has been hidden in a bale of cotton which has dropped out of sight. Their search for it leads them through dens of assorted vice (prostitution, narcotics, etc.) and turns over a morgue full of corpses-- something like ten in the first chapter. Especially devilish is Coffin Ed's use of tracer bullets in his pistol, which not only kills criminals but sets them on fire too. The satire on Negro naivete in the Back-to-Africa Movement and on the manners and morals of low- life might have been more acidulous if written by Coffin Ed himself.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1965
ISBN: 0394759990
Publisher: Putnam