What stikes me most about Red Harvest; is how willing the characters are to act based on the tiniest amount of information. Hammett's Continental Op raises merry hell with the criminal elements of Personville precisely because they're ready to leap at each others throats on the slightest pretense. This leads to the manipulation of the most impulsive characters by the smarter ones, but even the Op himself occasionally believes something he shouldn't.
Which, of course, makes great fodder for gaming, if only we'd do it. I've had great fun with characters who act first and ask questions later1, but I still get protective of them sometimes, leading to a more reactive style than I'd like.2 Even in Fiasco, a game whose subtitle is "a game of powerful ambition and poor impulse control," I haven't played anyone who has just cut loose.3
That surprises me a little. And, come to think about it, I do the same thing in improv. Unless I'm playing a character I know is supposed to lose in a big way -- like playing a villain in an opera -- I don't take big risks. The thing is, I have fun with those characters, the ones who let the very firstlings of their hearts be the firstlings of their hands. Maybe I need to do that more.
Red Harvest, by the way, is a Fiasco playset waiting to happen.
1 The half-demon son of a nature goddess in Jesse's "Conan by way of Wuthering Heights" Sorcerer and Sword game, Rugo the Magnificient in Andrew's Reign game of magical theatre troupes, and Xander Yvarai in the ongoing Houses of the Blooded LARPs all come to mind.
2 This where I need to be more like Peter. He knows what I mean.
3 Unlike Graham in our Vegas game. There's nothing like storming into someone's house and shooting his pillows, only to discover it's the wrong house.