RARA-AVIS: *Murderers Row*

13 Mar 99 09:14:00 -0500 --UNS_gsauns2_3075085017
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Last comment, I promise. One of the things Hamilton has said makes
his character interesting is the built-on contradiction he consciously
included in creating Helm. 1) Helm is basically a pretty nice guy 2)
Helm makes his living by killing people.

The essential decency of Helm is brought through in many ways
throughout the series. In *Row*, it takes the form of guilt, and
worrying that he's no longer regarding killing as a job or a duty, but
as something to take pleasure in. Although the killing of his sister
agent early in the book isn't really his fault, he wonders whether or
not he went to far, took too much pleasure in his assignment, started
to identify too closely with the organized crime figure he is
pretending to be, and considers retirement before he goes too much
farther down the slippery slope. At the same time, he still has a
strong sense of duty, and puts off the retirement until the current
assignment is finished.

I find it a mark of Hamilton's talent that he's able to bring off a
fairly complex piece of characterization in what is, essentially, a
short, tight paperback thriller that he probably expected no one to
remember five years later, let alone more than thirty. - Jim Doherty

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