Listed in "The 1000 Books You Should Watch Before You Die." Suffering tragic white racism in Arkansas, including his brother's rejection at the emergency ward of a whites only hospital and a long prison sentence for a youthful indiscretion, Himes viewed the life of blacks in America as unjust, absurd and menacing and wrote in such a way as to describe this daily horror. This is the first of a series of eight hard-boiled detective novels, several of which were made into top selling films.

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