Not only authentically Hammett-ish but also a great stand alone read...a classy ventriloquist act of a book.
Beginning in 1921, it maps out the back story to Sam Spade and Mike Archer's relationship via a pleasingly intricate and atmospherically hard-boiled plot before ending at the exact point The Maltese Falcon begins.
And the great testament to Gore's skill is that, within minutes of opening it, you're very likely to have forgotten you're not actually reading a Dashiell Hammett novel. The great gumshow is back. In spades.
Joe Gores has acheived a near perfect duplication of the self-styled detective Sam Spade
Gores catches to perfection the period flavour, the noirish atmosphere and, above all, Hammett's terse style...It left me aching for more.