Read The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips Online


It is Christmas Eve in Wichita, Kansas and snowing steadily. The streets are deserted and most people have returned home for the festivities. But Charlie Arglist has to get out of town, and fast. This novel is a rollercoaster ride of black humour, and possibly, the last 24 hours in Charlie's life....

Title : The Ice Harvest
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780330481380
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 218 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Ice Harvest Reviews

  • Ed
    2018-12-31 22:20

    A nasty, ripe little Christmas noir, THE ICE HARVEST is in the rich vein of Charles Willeford and Harry Crews. Charlie Arglist is a corrpt attorney who's embezzled a satchel of money from his employer and plans to skip town on Christmas Eve. Of course, things don't call as planned, and unravel fast. This fast-paced, short novel reminds me of the best from the Gold Medal Books imprint. Lots of dark humor and pratfalls included. Enjoy it.

  • Tfitoby
    2018-12-30 18:26

    Mostly read whilst killing time waiting for English public transport to turn upCompared to Cain and Thompson this novel seemed to have a high pedigree of hype going for it, having recently thoroughly enjoyed the John CUsack movie adaptation there was a little added pressure when I found this in a war zone/book shop in Brighton.Sadly this debut from Scott Phillips failed to live up to expectations. It's a solid piece of noir writing told without resorting to embellishment and extremes of plot to engage the reader. It's the kind of book that is a pleasure to read to pass the time but no more than that, with a denouement perfectly in keeping with the greats of the genre he was compared to.

  • knig
    2019-01-15 19:19

    Reading this was a purely tactical choice to begin with. As in red alert, battle stations ready tactical warfare. Which best describes the cattle run on the London Underground where it is a no holds barred, take no prisoners, survival of fittest gladiator match twice a day. When wedged in the middle of this meat vice, headlocked under Big Bertha’s eau de Baconnaise infused armpit, trussed up like a Christmas turkey and that had BETTER be only an umbrella poking my ass, reading material has to conform to certain standards. A certain size, weight and shape are crucial, so I can prop it centrifugal like over a love handle and beneath a double D. Trial and error are crucial here, my dear Watson, but after many sardine sessions I knew The Ice Harvest would snuggle right in.A weird little book this: the first half is totally devoid of any action whatsoever. Instead, we have a slow, languorous layering of seedy character and their haunts descriptions. The main protagonist Charlie seems to spend an eternity driving up and down the main street in Wichita, Kansas on Christmas Eve, circulating between three stripjoints, a bar, and two houses, in some sort of grotesque noirification of Pleasantville. He’s clearly getting ready to skip town and seems to be killing some time before he goes. Everywhere he goes, some broad offers to blow him off or make him into a bona fide anal connoisseur. The cops all know him : they all toast whiskey flasks when they meet up on the highway. Sweet. Why would he even want to leave a place like this?The second half picks up a bit, which in any event isn’t hard to do considering nothing ever happened in the first half. Charlie still seems to be running around Main Street, except now theres a noticeable body count stockpiling in each of the places mentioned above. This frenzied rushing around is supposed to blind us to the fact that there is absolutely no plot cohesion whatsoever in this alleged crime thriller. Things seem to happen randomly, nothing makes any logical sense, the narrative descends into mish-mash. With one saving grace at the very end: a delicious little twist at the finale, which, however, in no way makes up for the disjointed rambling before.‘A venture into white noir’ it says right on the front cover. But wait, what the hell is white noir, apart from an oxymoron. I usually know my blek end uait but not this. White trash noir is more likely. Noir what you read: next time I’ll stick to pinot noir.(I’m not kidding, what is white noire?)

  • Raul
    2019-01-15 15:19

    Scott Phillips apresenta-nos uma história muito bem escrita.Não precisou de ser sufocante para ser interessante e entusiasmante.Grande parte do enredo passa-se em apenas algumas horas, com pouco mais do que a duração de uma noite.E a vida pode mudar tanto em tão pouco tempo. Os planos de anos, os projetos de vida, os sonhos e as ambições pode alterar-se tanto entre o por e o nascer do sol.Uma história de gente desonesta... Uma história que nos mostra que o crime não compensa, que a desonestidade obriga ao pagamento de um preço demasiado caro e que, como diz o adágio popular, "cá se fazem, cá se pagam".

  • Paul
    2018-12-22 20:32

    Quote: "He took a deep, frozen breath. "That about hit the fucking spot. You know when you have that one drink that takes you to the exact perfect stage of drunkenness? That was the one. I feel like God. Let's hit it." He took one step off the icy sidewalk & into the parking lot & slipped. "Fuck Charlie, I fell." "You hurt?" "I'm too drunk to get hurt." He struggled to get back on his feet, slipping & falling repeatedly as Charlie stood watching. He finally managed to get up on his hands & knees. The car was only seven or eight feet away. "You going to make it?" "Fuck yes, I'm gonna make it. Don't tell anybody you saw me do this," he said, and he crawled on all fours to the door. He pulled it open, leaned his head & shoulders in, and began spewing nine hours worth of booze & bar snacks onto the floor of the passenger side." A nice blend of wry humor & violence make this a must read.Highly recommended. 4 stars from this reader.

  • Sarah
    2018-12-28 18:28

    What a fantastically-dark wicked book. I was hooked from the beginning until the very end. I'd seen the movie many many years ago but couldn't recall much except that I enjoyed it and it had John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton in it. And it was cold out. The characters are all unsavory and nasty and I loved every single one of them. The ending was outrageous and perfect. Read this book!

  • J
    2018-12-19 20:25

    I like me a good down and dirty crime novel as much as I like just about any other read. No one is going to mistake Scott Phillips’ The Ice Harvest for great literature any time soon, and that’s a shame because books this enjoyable often get overlooked by the literati. This crime noir moves fast and straight out of the gate with profanity and nastiness. We meet Charlie Arglist, corrupt lawyer and sleazy club owner who spends Christmas Eve moving from strip club to crappy bar and back to another strip club, sucking down the booze and snorting coke when possible.By chapter two, a man’s been clubbed with a bat, we’ve learned Charlie’s blackmailing some local politicians, and we hear of a bouncer’s plans to break a guitarist’s hands for blacking his (the guitarist’s) girlfriend stripper’s eye. It’s just that kind of book.The bouncer makes good on that threat, which is no surprise from what we’ve read previously, understanding just what it is we’re talking about here. Care for more? Well, here’s what the bouncer sounds like sweet-talking someone on the phone: “Well, if this isn’t the rat-fuck of the century, I don’t know what is! …As far as I’m concerned you can grease up that Yule Log of yours and shove it up your shithole!...You’ll rue the day you thought you could pull this shit on me, you toothless old whore! I promise you will regret the day you were fucking born!” He slammed the phone receiver down, then picked it back up and screamed into it at the top of his lungs, then slammed it down into its cradle again and again, until finally, breathing hard, he looked up at Charlie and Pete. “Sorry,” he continued, “that was my mom. She wants me to pick up my kids tonight instead of tomorrow.”Portraits of moral corruption don’t come any cleaner and dirtier than that. If there’s a character with a redeeming feature, I must have missed it. Though I suppose a couple minor incidents — a man asking if Charlie’s all right after he slips on some ice or an ex-roommate of one of Charlie’s old girlfriends — could count as two drops of the milk of human kindness amidst all the darkness and filth. Just barely.Often books with despicable protagonists are hard to get through. Your natural inclination to sympathize with and like the main character gets constantly sidelined. Here, you don’t technically “like” Charlie Arglist — you just dislike everyone else so much more that you do find yourself rooting for his success. He’s not a bad guy per se, even if he does, drunkenly, snort a couple lines of cocaine with his brother-in-law prior to dropping in to the Christmas celebration of his ex-wife’s family. He justifies this to himself by thinking he should see his kids one last time before he leaves town and by not wanting to slur in front of his them.So you see, he’s considerate in his debauchery. He even goes so far as to waive stage-fees for strippers screwed over by Christmas Eve’s slow turnout. Occasionally you might worry that Charlie’s softer side is going to get him killed, but combinations of dumb luck and unimaginably moronic bravado carry him through mostly. When he breaks into a friend’s home around 4am Christmas morning, the resulting scenario is partly the Grinch confronting Cindy Lou Who and partly slapstick of a nicely broad physical kind.Exactly what Charlie is up to isn’t entirely clear until The Ice Harvest has made it to past the halfway mark, but public and private corruption play major roles, naturally. While he clearly needs to get out of town at some point in the relatively immediate future, Charlie dawdles, and, in the process, manages to burn every bridge, to make a series of bad judgments and to nearly give away all his hole cards before his ticket is solid and his cash is in hand. As the speed of the double-crossing begins to heat up, Charlie loses more and more safe havens and resources.In that last respect, the book could almost present itself as a kind of allegorical deconstruction of a man, peeling away each successive layer of social and psychological wrapping until he’s left with only his own unadorned selfishness and ego. Phillips likely isn’t going that far, but to watch Charlie Arglist move ever further down, down, down is in itself a thing of black and amusing beauty. The conclusion of this comedy of disaster makes everything spectacularly worthwhile.

  • Sam Reaves
    2018-12-24 22:29

    It's hard to put your finger on just what's so great about this noir classic: is it the utter bleakness of spirit, the word-perfect evocation of middle-American anomie and alienation (not to get too scholarly about a sordid tale of vice and crime), or is it the deadpan black humor, which has us laughing out loud at appalling things? Great literary skill in the service of all of the above, anyway.It's Christmas Eve in Wichita in 1979 and the snow is coming down as families hunker down for the holiday; Charlie Arglist, a failed lawyer who handles payoffs for the local strip joint boss, is planning to skip town with his partner and a satchel full of cash they have abstracted from the vicelord's empire. Permanently numbed with alcohol, Charlie is also a failed husband and father, and his faint pangs of yearning and regret for the family he is about to forsake forever provide just the touch of humanity we need to appreciate the yawning abyss of inhumanity he has opted for. Needless to say, things are not likely to go according to plan.Why do we love noir? Maybe we like the glimpse of forbidden thrills, maybe we like to feel morally superior. Those who protest the amorality of the genre fail to notice that there are no happy endings; a better morality tale about the wages of sin would be hard to imagine. And the damn thing is hilarious to boot.

  • Aaron
    2019-01-13 17:24

    Scott Phillips knows exactly how to Make Kansas Great Again! I don't know the official title of this genre but I call it Country Pulp Western Noir. He makes Kansas sound like an exciting, crime filled, drug fueled, passionate, sexy, destination full of life and adventure. In reality it is a boring, backwards, redneck, Koched out, Brownback hell with deteriorating school districts, ubiquitous strip malls full of Target Stores, Chipotle, Whole Foods and high end Chick-fil-a outlets, a uge prairie with a few small towns full of tweakers and one college town with education snobs and another with Monsanto sponsored agriculture cowboys and a DHS laboratory full of the deadliest viruses known to man. I prefer Scott's version better and so he is one of those rare authors whom I will run out and read everything he has written.

  • Johnny
    2018-12-29 20:11

    A quick, little immorality tale. I actually appreciate that Phillips makes no effort to make any of his character's likable, but rather just shows them for who they are. Because of it, even the slightest sign of humanity has weight.My one gripe is that although we are told that the book is set in Wichita in 1979, you wouldn't know it from reading it. For most of the story, Charlie (our hero) drives through the city and its outskirts, but it might as well be set in Anchorage for all the character of the city it invokes. Placing the story in the 1970s seems to be to remove the pesky cellphone from the story, which would have solved too many problems for the characters.Fast and cartoony, I thoroughly enjoyed the read.

  • Will Johnson
    2019-01-16 16:19

    Brutally simple and effectively grungy/filthy/anti-sexual. I really loved this book ... from the lewd characters, to the sexiest femme fatale I have had the pleasure to imagine in my head (Oh, Renata ... I wish you were real. Wow.), to the pretty shocking twists and turns in the final quarter.A little disappointed to hear there is a side-quel of sorts called The Walkaway. I thought the ending, which I won't spoil here, was pretty unique but remarkably consistent with the universe. Sad to see it expanded in its own book ... oh well ... I haven't seen the film this was the inspiration for but the late, great Harold Ramis directed it so it might be pretty good, though I can't see any of the actors who star in it fitting the parts I imagined in my head.

  • Sidney
    2019-01-16 21:38

    A bleak yet frequently funny noir novel in the Jim Thompson or Gold Medal school. This is the book that became the basis for the John Cusak-Billy Bob Thorntan film.It's a brisk, readable tale that follows failed lawyer Charlie Arglist on a farewell tour of 1979 Wichita as he contemplates an escape with money skimmed from his mobster boss.We get a look at Charlie's spartan existence, failed relationship and desolate outlook before brutal twists send his plans awry and pit him against friends and foes alike.The novel unfolds almost totally with Charlie at center stage and very simple events are kept lively by off-beat characters, grim humor and a fairly brisk pace.

  • Kevin Helmick
    2019-01-12 16:41

    About as rural noir as it gets, and I love the sound of that, "rural noir". Fast. funny, dark and deliberate. The Ice Harvest delivers, in rich charasmatic characters, clever, hilarious dialouge, and a wrap up that completes the package. It's one you'll revisite again and again.I also have the awsome good fortune of being invited by Phillips, to read from my latest release, Heartland Gothic, at Noir Bar in St Louis Feb 28th 2012. But that has nothing to do with my review. I've read the book several times before that and watched some of the filming of the movie in 04.

  • Cynthia
    2019-01-02 20:19

    This book is not for everyone. It's dark, violent and disturbing. However, it is positively intriguing and horrifying in a 'can't look away from that train wreck' kind of way. The plot moves at a rather leisurely pace, quietly setting up what turns out to be a jaw dropping set of events. The story is told in a very neutral way, which gives the violence the ability to knock the wind out of the reader. The conclusion is surreal, dark humor at its best.

  • Mary
    2018-12-26 17:29

    If you saw the movie, you'll know the book - except for the ending. I think the book's ending is better - darker, but better.

  • Bayneeta
    2018-12-30 17:12

    May have read this dark Christmas tale before; probably saw the movie. Double-crossing, sex and violence make for atypical holiday fare. Worked for me.

  • Steve
    2019-01-14 19:13

    as near perfect a book of its kind as you have any right to expect

  • Pauline
    2018-12-28 18:17

    The book was so much better than the movie.

  • Karl
    2019-01-11 23:36

    This copy is signed by the author Scott Phillps.

  • Rebekkila
    2019-01-09 15:22

    I registered a book at!

  • Lauren
    2018-12-22 21:12

    I really didnt enjoy this. I didnt like the story or the characters. Maybe ill re read this some time but for now i didnt enjoy it.

  • Richard
    2018-12-18 23:12

    Sometimes you read a book and think this would make a great film. Rarely, do you read a book that is boring with very little plot or excitement, only to find that there is actually a film out there . Not only that but starring A-rated actors, John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton, two of my favourites. I can't wait to see the film adaptation, the screenplay writer(s) must have worked long through many nights to get this to screen. Fortunately, the book is only a short story so I didn't lose a lot of wasted time getting to the end. I do like crime noir books, Richard Stark's Parker books, being my favourite, but this is just about a man who rips of his crime bosses and tries to get away with a large sum of money - end of plot. However, I did like the twist at the end. I didn't see it coming but nothing preceding it led me to think a twist would suddenly appear.

  • Peter
    2018-12-22 22:28

    Brief and not wasting a word, this noir-thriller from 2000 is set in Wichita, Kansas over Christmas Eve 1979 as the anti-hero, involved in unspecified ways with criminal mobs, sets about leaving town accompanied by a partner with whom it emerges he has scammed huge sums from their bosses. Murder and double-cross ensue to an ironic final twist in a novel that has the requisite tone of menace and a sense of urgency plus interesting subsidiary characters and action. 3.5 stars.

  • Alex Cavanaugh
    2019-01-11 21:14

    The beginning is pretty rough, consisting mostly of the main character visiting a couple of different strip clubs, seemingly for no reason. Definitely picks up about halfway through and by the end heavily reminds me of Fargo. I read it in a few hours, and it's definitely worth the read, given how quickly you're in and out of the debacle.

  • Christopher
    2018-12-17 22:21

    A very fine crime novel.A lawyer on his last night.Snow in the sky; ice on the road.Bodies in strange places.It is a long goodbye. The inevitability of the end leaves a strong chill of noir.

  • Elizabeth Managan
    2019-01-06 18:37

    The 4 is almost entirely based on the end, which is quite a twist. Before that, the last third was getting on my nerves and I was in 2 territory, but the end totally surprised me.

  • Jonathan Briggs
    2019-01-04 18:34

    In a grimy Wichita bar with a nodding-off drunk and a determinedly oblivious barmaid. Where else could you possibly want to be on Christmas Eve? In a little while, sleazy lawyer Charlie Arglist will drunkenly get behind the wheel of his 1980 Lincoln Continental, "the finest car he had ever driven," and head out for the nudie bars he helps run for mobster Bill Gerard. It's Charlie's last night in Wichita, and before he hooks up with his buddy Vic to flee the city, he plans to hit all the hot spots -- every drunk dive, strip bar, massage parlor and porno palace (the Wichita Chamber of Commerce must love Scott Phillips). Charlie and Vic have spent months quietly robbing Gerard and have accumulated quite a tidy pile for their retirement fund. Funny thing is, Vic's gone missing, and Roy Gelles, Gerard's chief thug and enforcer, has been dogging Charlie around town. So while the righteous are nestled all snug in their beds, Charlie's running all over the place looking for his money, stumbling across corpses, infuriating in-laws, exes and offspring, committing a murder or two and getting drunker and drunker and drunker. A lot of the critical cover blurbage compares Phillips' debut to the work of Jim Thompson. I don't see it. Maybe dropping Thompson's name every time someone writes a noir is the literati's way of overcompensating to make up for ignoring the man while he was alive. There was a pervasive sense of doom about Thompson's novels. They're steeped in hopelessness and inevitable defeat. Phillips' characters aren't so much doomed as dumb. They actually think they're going to get away with their dirty deeds and happily live out their sordid, grubby lives. And Phillips' sense of humor, as viciously black as it gets, is more developed than Thompson's. Phillips' characters get sidetracked in heated debates over whether the Little Drummer Boy is in the Bible. Phillips twists that classic scene from the old Grinch TV special when Vic's little girl catches Charlie stealing presents from under the Christmas tree. I couldn't see that kind of thing in a Thompson novel tho I'm pretty sure he would appreciate this book's grimly amusing punchline. "The Ice Harvest" is a good yarn for those who like to temper their holiday spirit with a little bile.

  • Lindsay Stares
    2019-01-09 22:15

    Premise: Charlie Arglist is making the rounds on Christmas Eve, 1979: the bars he likes, the strip joint he runs and the one that he patronizes. He’s not telling anyone that he’s leaving town in the morning. Charlie’s not having a good night.I didn’t like the movie of this as much as Erin did, but I did really enjoy the book. It’s got a bleak humor that places it firmly in the best noir tradition. Charlie’s a lawyer, and he works in the machinery of the mob that runs much of the town, managing businesses like porn shops and the Tease-O-Rama. He’s skipping town in the morning. That’s all you know at the start of the book, and I really liked the slow build. The movie hits you right at the start with Charlie’s partnership with Vic, and why and how they plan to leave town, but for fully half of the book, all you know is that Charlie’s leaving, and he has to meet Vic at two. The book takes place over less than 24 hours, chronicling Charlie’s long, horrible night. The picture of the town from this perspective, of the 4 or 5 bars that Charlie visits, and then visits again in a different order, makes it clear how realistic and terribly sad it would be to live like that. Of course there’s action, murder and betrayal, but the best parts of the book are the quiet interactions with minor characters, each with their own tragedy of a life. The minor characters get a lot more play in the book than in the film, and the family relationships are slightly different, and more interesting, I think. Charlie isn’t sympathetic or unsympathetic. You go along with his decisions because he’s the point of view character, but you don’t really spend time in his head. He’s not a nice guy; he’s just less awful than a lot of the others.It’s the story of one man’s long, dark Christmas Eve, and it was a really satisfying read.

  • Willem van den Oever
    2018-12-22 20:21

    Charlie Arglist, a crime lawyer in 1970s Kansas, tries to get out of town on Christmas Eve after stealing several million from a local bigshot he represents. But with the streets overflowing with snow, ice and lots of booze, it quickly becomes apparent Charlie has quite a few ties to cut before he can leave Wichita behind for good. It starts with strip joints and drunken ex-brothers in law who need to be taken home to their family and soon Arglist also finds cops and gangsters breathing down his neck while he loses his partner in crime out of sight, in what starts to feel like the last day of his life.While it’s clearly not intended to be considered as English Literature, even as a crime novel ‘The Ice Harvest’ isn’t mindblowingly original. Nevertheless, that doesn’t take away the amount of joy which can be found in Phillips’ writing or in the way the reader blows through this novel.What is especially delightful, is the strange fact that none of the characters are in the least bit likable. By placing them against the overly cheerful and kind background of the Christmas holiday, Arglist and his sidekicks become all the more mean, filthy and sarcastic. They cheat, lie, steal and screw each other over without any consideration or regret and seem to have been doing that for their entire lives. The dialogue often has that snappy, world-weary feel to them without dragging the reader down by any of it. This story is mean and knows it, but does it so with as much tongue in cheek as possible. Containing barely 200 pages, ‘The Ice Harvest’ is the perfect paperback to breeze through during any holiday.

  • Still
    2018-12-24 20:11

    GREAT fun!!!Review To Follow... and it goes like this:Entertaining dark comedy about a shady lawyer planning on leaving Wichita, Kansas within the next 12-14 hours but has a few loose ends he must tend to first.Charlie Arglist is involved in a partnership with some very unsavory characters in operating a number of strip clubs, at least one massage parlor, and porno peep-show parlor.He's also been moving quite a bit of illegal substances like cocaine through these various enterprises.Episodic, hilarious, and occasionally violent novel that shouldn't take the average fan of crime/noir more than a day and a half to read.I had a great time reading it and like all of Scott Phillips novels I've read so far, I would highly recommend it....he struggled to get back on his feet, slipping and falling repeatedly as Charlie stood watching. He finally managed to to get up on his hands and knees. The car was only seven or eight feet away."You gonna make it?""Fuck yes, I"m gonna make it. Don't tell anybody you saw me do this", he said, and he crawled on all fours to the door. He pulled it open, leaned his head and shoulders in, and began spewing nine hours' worth of booze and bar snacks onto the floor of the passenger side."For Christ's sake, Pete, do it in snow, not in the fucking Lincoln!"Pete stopped for a moment, looked blearily up at Charlie, wiped his mouth with the sleeve of his coat, and then resumed puking copiously into the wheel well.