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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Thursday, August 4

Good Killers

In the Prey series by John Sandford, two of the books concern a mob hit person named Clara Rinker, Certain Prey and Mortal Prey. Rinker is an unusual character because, although she has killed well over thirty people, most of them are bad asses, people the St. Louis Mafia wanted hit for various reasons. But some of the kills are innocents, whom she kills strictly for the money. Unlike most serial killers, Clara Rinker is not a psychopath; she’s a sociopath who from her early youth was raped and beaten by first her step father and then her older brother. She’s smart, attractive, efficient . . . deadly efficient. And the reader sort of sides with her, empathizes with her. In that regard, she’s a lot like the Lawrence Block character, Keller, another paid hit man. Keller also kills a lot of people, mostly bad asses, as well as quite a few innocents. But the reader sees him as a good man despite his profession. He’s smart, efficient, sensitive, a fanatic philatelist. It’s so odd that the reader can side with him, just as with Clara Rinker. Then there’s the character Dexter Morgan, from Jeff Lindsay’s novel Darkly Dreaming Dexter, later the main character in tv’s hit series (no pun intended) Dexter. Dexter is a true psychopath whose foster father convinces him to turn his killer lust into a good thing by killing only other serial killers while he works as a forensics expert for the Miami police department. It’s not as easy to see him as a positive character as it is with Rinker and Keller, but the tv show has turned him into one of the good guys even though he still lusts for the kill. What an odd trio of characters, a mix of good and evil. I can’t think of any other fictional character quite like them although I’m sure there are others out there.

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