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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Blind Pig by Jon A. Jackson

A pretty good murder mystery written in 1978. A burglar is shot dead by the police in Detroit, but something's not right. So we have a detective poking around, trying to figure out what is going on. He spends a fair amount of time in "Blind Pigs" (illegal after hours bars) talking to people.

There were a couple of scenes that didn't ring true. One is a scene where he encounters a group of Cubans sitting around a poker table talking and he proceeds to ask them a bunch of questions. It struck me as a very unfriendly kind of questions, questions I would not be particularly disposed to answer if some stranger started bugging me. Maybe they made him as a cop and figured it was better to make nice and until he went away rather than to give back what he was dishing out. There was no mention of him being made and so it sounded off.

Another is where a guy is loading sand into a dump truck, and he has overfilled the truck. It's pretty obvious by this point that the contraband is in the dump truck. The author is pointing it out, and none too subtley.

Then there is final action scene where the bad guy pulls a gun, starts blasting, runs and jumps in dump truck and tries to make a getaway. Written like it was looking to be made into an action packed movie.

There are redeeming features, like the beautiful red-haired woman who carries a gun. Even in 1978 the cops are hassling her about registering it.

It was kind of weird to read some of the dialog from that era: "far out, man", or "heavy, dude". I can't remember the last time I heard someone use those lines.

The contraband is Stoner rifles made by the Cadillac Gage Company. Turns out the rifles are real and were in fact made by the Cadillac Gage Company.

The detective is working on several cases, and you don't know if there is any connection between them or not, but that's his job, he has new cases to investigate, cases he recently aquired that still need his attention, cases that have been closed, but he still needs to testify in court, and old cases that resurface for some odd reason. Just your typical work load for a big city detective. Made me realize that there might be some room for volunteer detectives. In Portland we have a cold case squad made up of retired detectives who get together a couple of times a week to see what they can dig up.

The end of the book is kind of odd. The man that was shot by the police that started this whole story was a hit man named Sidney Carton. This is revealed on the last page of the book. His body is claimed by a "good friend", another hit man by the name of Joe Service. So I'm thinking maybe these names are supposed to mean something. Google doesn't find anything about someone named Joe Service, but Sydney Carton was a character in one of Dicken's books. The significance escapes me.

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