Re: RARA-AVIS: _Murderer's Row_
Thu, 4 Feb 1999 08:40:51 -0500 Hamilton certainly knew (and probably still knows, but I haven't read
anything more recent by him than the early 1970s) how to make a story move.
I admire the way he keeps the novel's background and exposition from
slowing its start by weaving it into the first three or four chapters while
the action gets going. As I recall from other Helms, he used this method of
simultaneously starting the action and filling in backstory in other books.

Bill asks, What makes Helm hard-boiled? Well, Matt is a tough professional
killer, trained by and working for the US government, and he makes no bones
about his job or his abilities. Even in this story, when various characters
question his reliability and worthiness, Helm dismisses their complaints
and acts to continue his mission -- even after he complained about having
to take it. Once he starts a job, he's determined to finish it. It's a
dirty job, but he's damned well gonna do it to the best of his considerable

Another facet of the hard-boiled: He doesn't let his interest in the weepy
daughter distract him from his mission -- to "touch" her father. True, he
tries to camouflage his attempt, but he knows his mission and he fully
expects to complete it. His own survival -- and that of any incidental
innocents -- is second to the mission. -- Duane

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