Thursday, August 26, 2010

Slam the Big Door (1960)

Nice to read a wholly successful John D. thriller after reading his horrible sci-fi exercise. This wasn't one of his best but there were lots of great things in it. The hero is Mike Rodenska, a widower who is invited down to his old friend's house on the west coast of Florida for a vacation. What he finds is a crooked land deal, lots of potential bed-mates, lots of drinking, bad behavior, and morally suspect characters. The best thing about this novel was that the hero, Mike, was not the typical MacDonald male. He is often described as overweight, balding and out-of-shape. It was a nice touch, and a bit unusual for the books of this period where the main character is usually a tall, handsome lug in the Don Draper mode.

Other notables: not the best book but the final chapter (or epilogue) is great. Also, the penultimate chapter is all about the demise of a certain character, who dies in a head-on collision. Remember that scene in Death Proof, where Tarantino shows about seventy-three different angles of the head-on that kills all of the first half principals. This chapter is the literary equivalent of that, with MacDonald going over exactly what happens to bodies involved in the worst possible type of car crashes. It's explicit and a little unnecessary, but then again it's pulp fiction, right, emphasis on pulp?

1 comment:

  1. I might be projecting here, but there should be more fat, balding protagonists in my opinion.