RARA-AVIS: Peter Macklin

From: Larson, Craig ( Craig.Larson@tsjc.cccoes.edu)
Date: 02 May 2002

Loren D. Estleman, _Something Borrowed, Something Black_.

        This book chronicles the welcome and overdue return of Estleman's character Peter Macklin, here a retired hit man for the Detroit mob. A newlywed on his honeymoon, Macklin is spotted by an associate of Carlo Maggiore, "Carl Major", an old acquaintance and onetime target, who presses him into doing one more job. Macklin's young bride is monitored by Abilene, a pseudo- cowboy associate of Maggiore's and during the course of his duties, he lets slip who Macklin is and also shows off his own psycho tendencies, leading Laurie Macklin to attempt to slip his clutches.

        The book switches back and forth from San Antonio, the site of Macklin's hit, to Los Angeles, and is very effective in building suspense. Macklin is a hard, tough character who previously appeared in _Kill Zone_, _Any Man's Death_, and _Roses Are Dead_. He's reminiscent of Richard Stark's tough guy, Parker, though Parker is a thief who only kills when he has to and Macklin is a killer, first and foremost. Hopefully, we won't have to wait another 9 or 10 years (or whatever it was) for the next Macklin book.

        Maybe it says something about me, but I really love the idea of a hit man as main character. Along with the Macklin books, I've also enjoyed the Quarry series by Max Allan Collins and both of Lawrence Block's Keller books, _Hit Man_ and _Hit List_. Are there any other writers who've used hit men as their lead characters, either in series or stand-alone novels?

Craig Larson Trinidad, CO

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