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Publisher's Summary

To detectives Coffin Ed Johnson and Grave Digger Jones, it looked like an open and shut case. After all, Sonny Pickens was still standing over the body of Ulysses Galen, smoking gun hanging from his hand. Only one problem: Sonny's gun was loaded with blanks.

There were plenty of people who wanted Galen dead, but who was responsible? Sonny? A jealous husband? Or one of the street toughs from a gang calling themselves the Real Cool Moslems? Coffin Ed and Grave Digger pound the mean streets of 1950s Harlem in search of the Real Cool Killer.

©1959 Chester Himes, copyright renewed 1987 by Lesley Himes (P)2011 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

".... Real Cool Killers is a picturesque story to which Graham gives expert treatment. " ( Audiofile)

What listeners say about The Real Cool Killers

Average Customer Ratings
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WOW!

What made the experience of listening to The Real Cool Killers the most enjoyable?

Chester Himes.

What did you like best about this story?

Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

You really forget its a book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

All of it.

Any additional comments?

I WANT MORE!

6 people found this helpful

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Great read.

If you could sum up The Real Cool Killers in three words, what would they be?

Enjoyable, haunting, true

What did you like best about this story?

The ability to truthfully characterize people in the black community before the 80's. The characterizations remind me of my childhood.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

Really like his voice. Captures what I feel are the inner essences of the characters.

5 people found this helpful

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Too Cool For School

A big white man is murdered in cold blood in the streets of Harlem in front of countless bystanders. But who is the killer? The drunken crazed man who's chased him from a bar, or a member the Real Cool Muslims, a gang of kids dressed up as arab sheikhs? Why was he killed? Out of anger, just for kicks, or did he have it coming? Detectives Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed are on hand to apprehend the culprits, but one of the kids is killed when Grave Digger thinks one of the Real Cool Muslims is throwing acid into his already burned face, a prank gone very wrong: it was only perfume. Then his young daughter turns out to be embroiled in this mess, ensuring that the Harlem detective duo will do what needs to be done to save her and resolve what turns out to be a truly sordid case. This third instalment of the Harlem Cycle was entertaining, but I felt, not as strong as the two previous books in the series. However, I know that there are more great reads further ahead, so I'll carry on and go wherever Chester Himes takes me; the journey is sure to be filled with unique individuals and plenty of surprises.

4 people found this helpful

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Masterful storytelling

This story is so rich with characters and dialogue. The plot keeps developing with twists that are not expected. Mr. Graham’s voicing of the characters is spot on and adds to the color. Tremendous!

1 person found this helpful

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A fun fast read

This was my first book by this author but it won't be my last. it is a fast fun fairly easy read. There are great characters lots of action and it's definitely written from another era. It can be rough in some of the language and action it's not PC by todays standards but it's a product of its time and worth the time I have half a dozen other books on my to read list from this author. The narrator is great too throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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Great Narration

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This was a fun mystery. I loved Dion Graham's narration. He is fabulous!

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Real Cool Killers?

I loved all the dialogue. Dion Graham did a fantastic job bringing all the characters to life.

What about Dion Graham’s performance did you like?

Everything. He is awesome at making the character's real. His pace, diction, animation, accents, inflections, and tone. He is a talented orator.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, I kept wanting to listen to it.

Any additional comments?

This was my first audible book experience and I'm pleased. It was enjoyable.

1 person found this helpful

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It's what I expected from Chester Himes

Himes' novels are gritty yet simple and captures the essence of Harlem. 👮🏾🌆🔫
Narration was cool!

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent

Great from start to finish.Mr Himes did it again. Dion Graham turns the book into a movie that plays in your mind!

1 person found this helpful

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SUPERB NARRATOR!

Gritty story with many interesting characters! The narrator did a marvelous job capturing the accents and speech rhythms. Will listen again!

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carefully woven story

this story was tightly woven ans exhibited considerable depth to interconnect the various characters. The ending was a surprise that suddenly revealed itself. the use of language was rich and quite literary.

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  • Mr. C. G. Moore
  • 12-30-16

Not a patch on Rage in Harlem (sorry)

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

After listening to 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 listen.

Has The Real Cool Killers put you off other books in this genre?

No, I love hard-boiled noir and would be interested to see if Chester Hime's flair returns in the next novel as I loved Rage in Harlem and wanted to read the whole series

What does Dion Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Great characters and a great tone

What character would you cut from The Real Cool Killers?

the only dodgy accent is the Irish (at least I think that's what he's trying to do) police commissioner

Any additional comments?

I guess I was spoilt with book 1 and expected something similar. This is a bit more pulp noir and Rage in Harlem was a cut above it

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cecil Browne
  • 06-30-20

Fantastic from Himes, now for the others

A gripping story, those familiar with Walter Moseley will love it. Now for the next