The Real Cool Killers

The Real Cool Killers When Harlemites set about each other with knives it s an everyday kind of happening But when a white man is shot dead in a Harlem street one steamy evening it means trouble big trouble Plenty of peo

  • Title: The Real Cool Killers
  • Author: Chester Himes
  • ISBN: 9780679720393
  • Page: 135
  • Format: Paperback
  • When Harlemites set about each other with knives, it s an everyday kind of happening But when a white man is shot dead in a Harlem street one steamy evening it means trouble, big trouble.Plenty of people had motives for killing Galen, a big Greek with too much money and too great a liking for young black girls But there are complications like Sonny, high on hash, foundWhen Harlemites set about each other with knives, it s an everyday kind of happening But when a white man is shot dead in a Harlem street one steamy evening it means trouble, big trouble.Plenty of people had motives for killing Galen, a big Greek with too much money and too great a liking for young black girls But there are complications like Sonny, high on hash, found standing over the body with a gun in his hand that fires only blanks, a street gang called the Moslems, a disappearing suspect, and the fact that Coffin Ed s own daughter is up to her pretty neck in the whole explosive situation

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      Posted by:Chester Himes
      Published :2019-06-18T07:24:39+00:00

    785 Comment

    • Dan Schwent says:

      Ulysses Galen is shot down in the streets of Harlem and Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are on the case. The prime suspect is a member of a gang calling themselves The Real Cool Moslems. After an incident with the Moslems, Coffin Ed is suspended. Good thing, since one of the girls that runs with the Moslems is his teenaged daughterIt's a crime that Chester Himes isn't more well known than he is. The writing in The Real Cool Killers is gritty and straight to the point. I can see Himes's [...]

    • Jack Tripper says:

      (Updated 3/4/17)Here's the (nearly as cool as the original) cover of the 1975 Signet mass-market I have, 173 pages.My first and and still the best of the three Harlem Cycle novels I've read so far, The Real Cool Killers does a great job capturing the atmosphere and attitudes of late-1950s Harlem (or so I imagine), with main characters "Grave Digger" Jones and "Coffin" Ed Johnson as somewhat exaggerated, larger-than-life versions of badass NYC cops. They're great characters, and they -- as well a [...]

    • Carol says:

      If you are intending to read only one of Chester Himes' novels, read A Rage in Harlem. But once you've read that, read this. Candidly, the first 75% of The Real Cool Killers is routine, not special, nothing to mention to a friend. Then -abruptly -it becomes the 5-star read you'd been anticipating. Trenchant social commentary. Abominable, ongoing abuse in which many members of the community are complicit. The intense protectiveness of one cop by other cops who know something bad is going down wit [...]

    • Richard says:

      This is the 2nd book in Chester Himes's Harlem Cycle and it's just as absurd and insane as his previous masterpiece in the series, A Rage in Harlem, which I loved. The plot starts almost immediately and moves at a breakneck pace. Just like in A Rage In Harlem, the story is so crazy, and the writing so sharp, that it's hard to stop reading. Something that sets Chester Himes apart from so many others is his ability to inject a mix of witty comedy and social commentary into his work, as well as ast [...]

    • Randolph Carter says:

      If you like your hard boiled with a healthy dose of historical racism, this is the novel for you. Hardly long enough to be called a novel and tightly plotted. Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson are two black NYC police detectives. Harlem is their beat. When a white pedophile sadistic pervert is "murdered" in Harlem all hell breaks loose. Jones and Johnson have got to find the killer even while the black body count goes unmourned. There doesn't seem to be any murder weapon however and too m [...]

    • Bert says:

      This was great, and crazy ahead of its time considering it was written in the late 50s.

    • Lauraadriana says:

      This is the second novel in the The Harlem Cycle series and it was just as good to read as the first time.ty and raw and fantastic, and at the end it left me in silent thought. The humor in these books at times is so twisted I almost felt mocked. This book is full of violence, but not just in the actual events of the book but also in its portrayal of life in Harlem, racial tension, apathy, rage and a melange of things that is bubbling just beneath the surface waiting to explode. There are seriou [...]

    • Lemar says:

      Chester Himes drops his readers right into the mix, Harlem circa 1958. Some books boast colorful characters, these books are unrivaled in characters that know how to survive in one of the toughest environments ever created. As he tells a compelling story, Himes gets across the reality that Harlem of this time was a construct of white America, a deliberate ghetto every bit as much as the historic European ghettos built to contain the Jews. The Real Cool Killers gets into the world of juveniles an [...]

    • Andy says:

      Probably the closest thing to a crime book written by Tex Avery - the eye popping, wolf howling mess explodes in your face like a cheap joke shop cigar. It's 1950s Harlem and two afroid Frankenstein detectives try to solve why a white man died from a prop pistol gunshot. Coffin Ed and Grave Digger Jones scare even the toughest Dutch-Irish Eisenhower flatfoot cops and no stone is unturned. Chester Himes has written the most insane crime novel ever written with his matinee idol looks and you shoul [...]

    • Carla Remy says:

      I read this because it's in the Library of the AmericasCrime Novels of the 50s. And I'd read the other four books in that collection. So I bought this. I adore their Crime Novels of the 30s and 40s so much. Then I find out that this is the middle book of a trilogy. What the hell? Anyway it was super fast, which was cool. Different, fun, fly by speed.

    • Adam says:

      This was Chester Himes's second novel to feature his two tougher-than-leather Harlem police detectives, Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones. Actually, "tougher than leather" doesn't quite do this duo justice. Coffin Ed and Grave Digger are tougher than a leather bag full of nails, frozen in a block of ice, wrapped in another leather bag, and studded full of nails. If that sounds over-the-top, well, Himes meant these characters to be just that. His Harlem detective novels were written while [...]

    • Jonfaith says:

      I didn't care for this. The revealing cityscapes and the Pynchonian lists of objects were the sole appeal. The violence was feral and the characters cold and opaque. The Real Cool Killers is more procedural than noir. The motivations are cynical. One could surmise that the procedural template is upended. I just wanted more. There was likely more context in A Rage in Harlem, but I didn't have access to that one.

    • Barry Hammond says:

      As usual, Chester Himes delivers a gritty, bare-knuckle, double-barrel blast from the streets of 1959 Harlem that takes no prisoners and doesn't leave much standing. Full of atmosphere, character and period slang it's a world only Himes could create. A white man is dead and everyone (including his black detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones) are out to get to the bottom of it before the night is done. Vicious and fast-paced as a speeding squad car. - BH.

    • KaleneMia says:

      Himes was definitely a great writer

    • Sarah Zama says:

      The opening of the novel is one of the most puzzling and challenging I've ever read. Things happen and they seem absurd. People shout at each other, wound each other terribly, a man is shot to death, and there seems to be no reason for this.But as the novel unfolds, reasons start to surface. By the end, we know there was nothing absurd in the opening scene, but everything happened for a reason. Reasons tightly entwined with human passions and twists.For me, this is the most fascinating aspect of [...]

    • Srinivas Veeraraghavan says:

      ‎I read a lot of books & they encompass various genres except for the soppy,batty romances that the likes of Mills & Boons churn out. So it may be prudent to say that I have a pretty wide perspective although I do have pretty marked tastes.In my all time of reading and enjoying books, James Hadley Chase stood out & the reasons are manifold. I have liked & admired the work of quite a few Authors but after the Great Man, there has been only one who has had that kind of a galvanic [...]

    • Tom Stamper says:

      These mid-century crime novels are a favorite genre of mine, but I didn't know much about Chester Himes before picking this one up. The mystery itself is interesting but secondary in importance to the setting of Harlem and the many characters that live there. Himes has a great style and he uses dialect just enough to give us a sense of setting.Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Johnson have names that sound like a couple of cops that don't mind putting the occasional criminal under the grass -- and th [...]

    • Alexander Veee says:

      "Cut that Aunt Jemima routine and get up off your ass," he said thickly, "or I'll take my pistol and break off your teeth."The two white men stared at him as though at a dangerous animal escaped from the zoo."You mean that?" the woman said."I mean it, he said.She scrunched out of the stool and said, "Gimme my coat, Jule."The chocolate dandy took a coat from the top of the jukebox behind them."That's putting it on rather thick," the blond white man protested in a reasonable voice."I'm just a cop, [...]

    • Matthew Budman says:

      Hard to get beyond the fever-dream tone, in which every character, major or minor, speaks and behaves as though in the middle of a three-day cocaine jag, wild-eyed, brandishing knives and firing pistols. Chandler suggests seedy goings-on are happening behind innocuous storefronts and suburban hedges; Himes puts them in the middle of 125th Street. The effect is distancing rather than engaging: No one seems to be acting entirely rationally, and the milieu is almost unrecognizable, so we have very [...]

    • Johnny says:

      A little more claustrophobic than "A Rage in Harlem", but just as fun. In his crime books, Himes proves to be the master of controlled chaos. In both books, Himes manages to start multiple storylines and just when you think there are too many threads to make it all come together, he does just that.Great dialogue, characters, and sense of place. The terse writing keeps the momentum moving at a breakneck pace.Gravedigger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson remain some of the best characters in crime ficti [...]

    • Andrew says:

      Definitely my favorite novel so far that I've read for my Detective Fiction class. First off, I really enjoyed just the mechanics of it--the way it was written, with character dialogue, etc.; the dual narrative; all the twists Himes puts on the genre and how he's often saying two things at once; the characterization (especially how Himes creates an interesting dichotomy by using police as the protagonists in a novel that is also critiquing police). It's also still incredibly relevant, dealing wi [...]

    • Maria Altiki says:

      3,5 βασικά! Πολύ πιο καλό απο το "Χαμός στο Χάρλεμ" και "Μπαμπάκι στο Χάρλεμ" που έχω διαβάσει. Με περισσότερη δράση κ πλοκή, μαχαιρώματα, πιστολίδια, η διαμάχη κ το μίσος των μαύρων για τους λευκούς, η εκμετάλλευση των λευκών στους μαύρους. Με ξένισε λίγο που εδώ τον Μακάβριο Εν [...]

    • Greg says:

      If I could make films, I might start with this joint. It is just so brilliant and so radical on so many different levels.

    • Lynn says:

      Nice twist at the end.

    • David Valentino says:

      Street Justice in Old HarlemIf you need convincing either that the 1950s were anything but halcyon and that racism was, and continues to be, a real, visceral issue in the United States, Chester Himes’ The Real Cool Killers will serve as a potent persuader. Himes dresses this education in a quickly read and very brutal hunt for a killer by his two black detectives, Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson. In the novel, second in Himes’ Harlem Detective Series (nine completed novels, one unfi [...]

    • Joe Pan says:

      This is one of the best novels I've ever read. Starting off like a gunshot, this Pynchon-esque comedy of errors lands us in an exploded cartoon version of Harlem enriched with all manner of slapstick, sensationalized, vulgar, jazzed-up, and larger-than-life characters. Within the first ten pages no less than three murders are attempted, with one completing the task. The story then shifts into a hyper-realistic slow weaving tale of proto-Blaxploitation of the grandest order, carried along by a de [...]

    • Chris Moore says:

      After Rage in Harlem, the 1st of Chester Himes Grave Digger and Coffin Ed novels, I wanted more. Chester Himes seems to have changed his style from a hard but poetic prose to something a bit more procedural and simple. No great flashes of description and the story is not as gritty and visceral. It feels a bit plodding. If you haven't read Rage in Harlem then it might be an ok pulpy read. I guess I was spoilt with book 1 and expected something similar. The main characters, Grave Digger and Coffin [...]

    • Carl says:

      I was tempted to give this three stars, mostly because it's not the type of fiction I tend to gravitate toward, but this is an undeniably lean and mean page-turning machine, and an enjoyable one at that. I do wish it were longer (to allow room for the development of some of the novel's more interesting ideas and characters), but Himes provides plenty to sink your teeth into: worldbuilding that makes you feel like you're in 1950s Harlem, over-the-top action sequences (someone gets his arm chopped [...]

    • Arlene says:

      Another violent, grimy inner city story told my Mr. Himes. Which I enjoyed! I love how these are just short enough to read during the day. The first book, A Rage in Harlem was great as is this one. Grave Digger and Coffin Ed are some tough cops who have no problems putting their hands on people.

    • Drew says:

      Read it in one day. Could not put it down. Chester Himes tells a gripping story at breakneck speed and paints a vivid picture of the dystopian nightmare world that apparently was the reality of pre-civil rights-era Harlem. Incredible stuff. I've read the first two Grave Digger and Coffin Ed novels and I'll be reading more as soon as I can find them for cheap.

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