Tue, 26 Jan 1999 13:26:02 EST Blumenthal/Skinner exchange:
> It is a particular hallmark of the Helm stories that Helm will allow
>himself to be captured and placed at a disadvantage in order to overcome
>his enemy and "make the touch," as he calls it. He often reminds the
>reader that the job is to make the kill, not come back alive. And he
>places himself in harm's way over and over to make that point.
Granted, but he should have some kind of plan or edge or plan. Many of the
genre's protagonists go into a situation where they know they have little
chance of surviving, but they have some good reason to think they will
accomplish their mission. Many times Helm does this against another "pro"
when he should not be able to succeed. It seems to me Hamilton could have
structured the plot as he does in The Ambushers, when Helm again allows
himself to be captured, but he his plan to have the touch made by another
goes awry. >>

I'll have a few more words about Helm when we get to our official Feb. 1 date
(though I never found Murderers' Row), but I thought I'd drop a quick note on
the above topic before I forget. One thing that is appealing about Helm is
his complete--and sort of crazy--self-confidence. I have a friend who was a
military commando for some years, and one thing he said was that the training
instilled totally unreasonable self-confidence in its members. Essentially,
you agree to a sort of brainwashing that will make you better at what it is
you do. Thus, he said, members would believe that they could burst into room,
kill three bad guys, and remove a hostage unharmed. No good reason to hold
such a belief, but it was adopted anyway.

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