RARA-AVIS: Hardboiled Journalists

From: Dick Lochte ( dlochte@gmail.com)
Date: 08 Jan 2006

Two reporters -- she works for the New York Times, he for CBS news -- are the protags of "Private Sector," an undervalued thriller written by Jeff Millar. I'm not sure if they're hardboiled, but they are dogged. And the book's premise is certainly hardboiled. The idea is that whenever terrorists hold US citizens for ransom a special squad is called in to kill everybody and make it look like an accidental disaster, thereby depriving the terrorists of any publicity. The case in point, as I recall, involves a takeover of a neighborhood theater showing a Clint Eastwood movie. The terrorists are only trying to make a point: they'll release everyone if the president agrees to delay the Superbowl for five minutes. The hit team burns the theater to the ground, killing several hundred Eastwood fans and the six terrorists. The leader of the team uses the philosophy that when the innocents entered the theater it was the same as if they'd stepped in front of a car. I can't remember another thriller premise that has registered so powerfully with me. I read the book back in '79 and since then every time I've heard about a plane crash or a fatal fire at a rock club, etc., it makes me wonder.

I believe it was Millar's first (and possibly only) book. The jacket says he was a columnist for the Houston Chronicle and creator of the Tank McNamara comic strip.

Dick Lochte

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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : 08 Jan 2006 EST