I feel like the second half of Red Harvest explored the Continental Op’s internal struggle to stay sane more than anything else! From the beginning the Continental Op’s sole goal was to solve Donald Willsson’s murder. After doing so, the Op is faced with even more trying issues. The thuggish, murdering lifestyle of Personville begins to permeate his conscience. The idea of killing another human being no longer bothers him. He fears that he might become like men he hunts down. The Op is afraid of what he, himself, might be capable of doing.
As a “Hard Boiled Story”, I think the Red Harvest tops In Our Times. I was on was the edge of my seat the whole first half of the story. While the second half was no longer about solving the murder, it still kept my attention because of the Continental Op’s major internal struggle. Dashiell Hammett constructed this mystery beautifully, and I would definitely recommend it to others.