review Green Ice 103

summary Green Ice

review Green Ice 103 ¿ ☁ Green Ice PDF / Epub ✎ Author Raoul Whitfield – Whitfield's first novel and the one critics like best Hammett loved it but then Whitfield and Hammett were drinking buddies The story begins with Mal Ourney's release from a two year prison sentence W Whitfield's first novel and the one critics like bestPlan to get the big guys when he gets out Rumors of this spread outside the prison walls and he is a target for a frame up within hours of his release. Classic crime novel I got for cheap It's of decent historical interest if you like me enjoy noir novels it's cool to read one of the originals And there's great tough guy dialogue and turns of phrase throughout And the plot is so ridiculously convoluted that I really couldn't follow it all that closely Something about emeralds that somebody had or possibly nobody had and that lots of people get killed over Never uite sure who did the killing or why but it's a decent enough ride and the climactic scene is brilliantly cinematic so much so that I'm pretty sure it was ripped off in a movie Maybe Godfather II About as much misogyny as you'd expect in this kind of book from this era and somewhat less racism Which isn't to say none just less than I was bracing myself for Of mostly historical interest and definitely not worth picking up if you're not already a fan of noir novels

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Ourney's release from a two year prison sentence While in prison Ourney apparently develops sympathy for the small time crooks he meets and hatches a. 'Green Ice' a reference to stolen emeralds was Raoul Whitfield's first novel Although carried off well it shows its origin in five linked novella published from December 1929 to April 1930 in 'Black Mask' which was to hardboiled noir what 'Weird Tales' was to horror and fantasyAt the time Whitfield was rated highly than his good friend Dashiell Hammett but Hammett has perhaps lasted better because his stories are a bit literary and less deeply embedded in the atmosphere of the time However Whitfield is not to be sniffed at as a genre authorThe story is very fast moving and brutal with a death rate typical today of recent Hollywood pulp thrillers Hardboiled was to became noir and provide the basis for many classic films but Whitfield lost out on that opportunity perhaps because he was so unremittingly violentThe pace is fast and the plotting complex a derivation of the mystery just as noir was a derivation of hardboiled but Whitfield has the good grace periodically to summarise the plot and the running theory of the 'hero' as to what precisely is going on as he would have to do each monthWhy was this sort of story so popular Well there is a very American Wild West moral tale of gunfighter integrity cleaning up the bad hats but in an urban setting and the picture of tough ruthless women on the wrong side of the game would be both erotic and a gender wars warningBut something else is going on where the lived experience of the writer acts as link to the reader's edginess about an unstable ruthless world in which high morality detached from its puritan roots faces the reality of dog eat dog criminality and desperation in societyThe hero Mal Ourney is released from Sing Sing but it is uickly established that he is a good guy who hates gangsters He took a drunk driving manslaughter rap for a girl who was not worth it but he did it anyway It is also established that he is a well heeled 'gentleman'This could position him as a transitional figure between the gentleman criminal Raffles though Ourney is only a criminal by default and Sam Spade though Ourney is an amateur investigator and not a paid professional except that 'The Maltese Falcon' came out in the same year as 'Green Ice'Hammett's Nick Charles in the 'Thin Man' 1934 represents another variation a well heeled socialite though it is clear he married into money who was once a professional investigator and takes on a case only because he is intrigued and does not like being pushed aroundThese are all variations on a theme and what binds them is a male ideal the tough but decent guy a 'mensch' who wants a uiet life on a steady income but finds himself getting into scrapes that because he is fundamentally decent he will see through to the endIt is an interesting ideal because it is a gender ideal presumed to be attractive to women men capable of protection but also willing to protect which makes the deviousness and ruthlessness of the women a fundamental existential problem for male heroes and presumably their readersAs the corpses pile up probably reflecting the five novella origin of the novel reuiring constant action for the young 'Black Mask' reader Whitfield does not have just one 'femme fatale' but a seuence of them This is what the world looked like to an urban male in 1929 trapped in a competitive world of strict gender differences where the stakes of the unknowability of other minds were that much higher in the anomic world that was and perhaps is America Three experiences mark this tone of voice the shock of front line service in the First World War 1917 1918 the enormous viciousness of street gang wars in New York in the age of Dutch Schulz very much a live issue since 1928 and the desperation of the Great Crash in the year of writingIf you add to this mix a corrupted law enforcement system and the impunity of criminal gangs as well as the notorious 'condition of the working class' the evocation of industrial Pittsburgh is excellent you have the soup ready made for a hardboiled storyAll in all this is not a great work of literature and it is no surprise that Whitfield could not gain the immortality of Hammett and later Chandler but the novel may capture the atmosphere of urban America in 19291930 better than either precisely because it is less polished and rawIt has rough edges but it works as a mystery up to a point and it certainly works as hardboiled on its way to noir with moments of extremely good writing The laconic terse fast moving character of the book riddled with repressed rage and despair is testament to a time's particular psychology Even today most men are going to like this book despite their better nature while most women are going to find it tiresome There is also an excellent introduction to Whitfield's life and work in this edition

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Green IceWhitfield's first novel and the one critics like best Hammett loved it but then Whitfield and Hammett were drinking buddies The story begins with Mal. Raoul Whitfield was one of the pioneering figures of hardboiled fiction and wrote as many as ninety stories in the famed Black Mask magazine He was a contemporary of Hammett Chandler and Carroll John Daly and a drinking buddy of Hammett’s Green Ice was Whitefield’s first published novel and is in actuality a set of five shorter stories that were originally published in Black Mask If you are looking for real hardboiled stories without pretense and just plain action action action this is it Mal Ourney served two years in Sing Sing taking a manslaughter rap for a gal he had been dating and while there word gets out he is has it out for the big guys the crime breeders who control all the action on the streets Violence is everywhere as he steps out of the Big House and it all looks like it is going to come back down on Ourney just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time Hammett himself described Green Ice as 280 pages of naked action and tough staccato prose It may not be as cleverly plotted as some other hardboiled novels – these were originally short stories but it literally breathes that tough dark hardboiled atmosphere