A wonderfully dark, pitch-perfect noir prequel to The Maltese Falcon, featuring Dashiell Hammett's beloved detective, Sam Spade. It's 1921--seven years before Sam Spade will solve the famous case of the Maltese Falcon. He's just set up his own agency in San Francisco and he gets off to a quick start, working cases (he doesn't do domestic) and hiring a bright young secretary named Effie Perrine. When he's hired by a prominent San Francisco banker to find his missing son, Spade gets the break he's been looking for. He spends the next few years dealing with booze runners, waterfront thugs, banking swindlers, gold smugglers, and bumbling cops. He brings in Miles Archer as a partner to help bolster the agency, though it was Archer who stole his girl while he was fighting in World War I. All along, Spade will tangle with an enigmatic villain who holds a long-standing grudge against Spade. And, of course, he'll fall in love--though it won't turn out for the best. It never does with dames.
Joe Gores, formerly a private eye, is the author of sixteen other novels, including Hammett, which won Japan's Falcon Award. He has received three Edgar Awards--one of only two authors to win in three separate categories: Best First Novel, Best Short Story, and Best Episode in a TV Series.