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 Thriller Review    

 

The Hit
By Jere Hoar
Context Books, 2003
Hardcover, $24.95 (292 pages)
ISBN: 1-893956-34-2

 

 
 

 

At a book signing at Burke’s Book Store in Memphis author, Jere Hoar, said the focus of his work was a study of the “disintegration of character.” 

I disagree. 

I tend to think it is more a “disintegration of mental health.”  That is because I don’t think the protagonist in the story, Luke Carr, has any character. 

Carr is a hard-bitten tough, a Vietnam veteran whose only skill consists of competency in the science of killing.  And although he does have scruples enough not to kick old ladies or murder his friends, Carr says that he is glad he has “slid into the scenery” of the Mississippi town.  Why?  Because he is content to live on the fringes of society and feed off of it, but not be a part of it.  His present planned project is to steal the art collection of a local rich man in town. 

He has no job and no intention of getting one, other than to take menial manual labor jobs, which he only uses to fill the time he finds on his hands and earn eating money.  Curiously, at one point in the book, he even takes a security guard job in order to show his “lost love” that he is trying to make a go of it.  He quits, after purposefully antagonizing a client—as if this is any great surprise.  Obviously, he never had any intention of holding the job down, so it should be no shock to the reader that he is fired, what with his piss-poor attitude. 

Then, he finds that his idea of stealing the art collection is not original with him.  Others are going after it as well, including the wife of the rich man.  She is Carr’s “lost love.”   

Here’s where the good part (i.e., the “twist”) comes into play: the lost love who is married to the rich man, also has another boyfriend besides Luke, even as she is “putting the make” on Luke.  So, whom is she going to be loyal to when the artwork heist goes through?  See a trend here?  This is where The Hit excels.  It explores several themes at once: in addition to the disintegration question, we have the fantasy of getting back with a long, lost love and the fantasy of the possibility of committing the perfect crime. 

And, even though I did not have any feeling of empathy for the hard-bitten and testosterone-challenged protagonist, Luke Carr, I had ample respect for the storyline and the atmosphere of the work.

 

Robert L. Hall
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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