RARA-AVIS: Jack's Return Home

Ned Fleming (ned@cjnetworks.com)
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 00:14:59 GMT Uh, what happened at the end of _Jack's Return Home_? Did the shotgun
blow up in Eric's face? I can't see this happening unless the end of the
barrel was below the surface of the water, which it wasn't, judging from
Lewis's description.

I once saw a fool pull the trigger on a rifle whose tip was below water.
He wound up with a comic-book gun -- with the end splayed out and
shredded. The barrel tip, where the pressure build-up would occur with a
rifle bullet, is just where you would expect the failure point to be.
Unless of course you're dealing with a grossly overcharged handload,
which might cause the receiver to fail.

The cover to the first edition of _JRH_ (which I borrowed via
inter-library loan) was designed by Lewis himself. Is that Lewis sitting
on the kiln wall? It looks a lot like him based on a photo I saw on the
back of his _Jack Carter and the Law_. This edition of _JRH_, published
in the USA, had a one-page glossary at the front. I presume this
glossary was included in UK editions as well; otherwise, I think they
would have included a few other words ("owt" = anything, and "nowt" =
nothing, which are unheard in the US) for Americans/Canadians.

All in all, this is the kind of fast-paced (and short!) hardboiled noir
I prefer. It was bleak enough to register as noir in my mind.

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