cover image Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon

Dashiell Hammett, , read by Michael Madsen and a full cast. . Blackstone Audio, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-4332-5249-5

The classic noir story is given new life with this full-cast adaptation. When a damsel in distress steps into Sam Spade's office spinning a yarn of a kidnapped sister and shady older man, Spade is doubtful but intrigued. Soon, he's pulled into an international hunt for a bird made of gold that leaves a trail of dead bodies, including his partner. Michael Madsen initially comes on a bit strong as Spade with a tone and growl that goes beyond previous renditions, but by the end, he has appreciatively mellowed. The supporting cast (including Sandra Oh and Edward Herrmann) are fine but unmemorable. The sound effects fading in and out of the production prove so subtle that it's often hard to determine if one is hearing them from the story or from the real world. The occasional musical score is reminiscent of old-time radio and used sparingly. A Vintage paperback. (Dec.)