Monday, February 18, 2019

Mad River Donald Hamilton

Van Houck said, “You sound like your dad. He used to say a gun without a man was a useless hunk of iron; while a man without a gun was still a man.”
I’ll admit I had high hopes for this 1956 novel from Donald Hamilton as I rate his novel The Big Country easily one of the best the genre has to offer.
Here we have a tale of a man unjustly imprisoned who returns to his hometown where he is a pariah. He goes about minding his own business until he is dragged into other’s business and must right a few wrongs and restore his good name.
Much ado is made in the beginning about our protagonist being a knife-fighter as opposed to a gunman, but to be honest this intriguing twist doesn’t amount to much in the end.
The novel starts out with fine promise with swift pace and gimlet-eyed observation but around the middle it seems to lose steam and falls into by-the-numbers formulary structure.
A shame. A talented writer seems to idle in neutral here.

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