I have probably arrived at this book from the opposite direction of most people. I picked this book up because I enjoyed Mr Dundee’s Cash Laramie stories. I think that most readers have probably enjoyed the Joe Hannibal series first and then tried Mr Dundee’s other works. This anthology is a bit like a best of album. It picks out stories throughout the artist’s time and puts them in to a single tome of complimentary works. The stories span over three decades of writing and really show the progression of Joe Hannibal as a character. For me the really interesting thing was to see not just how Joe Hannibal developed but how the writing style changes. It gets tighter and more hardboiled. As you make progress each story seems to have more pace than the last. The final story somehow manages to fit plot, character and world building in to a very fast paced story that grips you from start to finish.
I don’t like the cover. It does nothing for me. After reading this book I looked at other Joe Hannibal stories and I didn’t particularly like those covers either. That’s OK though as I’ll be buying them on my Kindle rather than a physical book so they will not really bother me. This book is certainly a case for not judging it by the cover. It is much better than it looks. The plots are simple and Joe Hannibal is a typical fictional PI. The descriptions of the environments are short and fairly basic. These might sound like negative points but in the context of this book they just add to the story. The things that are left unsaid let your mind fill in the blanks with just how you imagine they would be. Less is more when it comes to the writing style of this book.
I’m off to try and work out which are the earliest Hannibal books so I can start reading the series.