Friday, November 21, 2014

FFB: Shoot -- Douglas Fairbain

Here's another book I picked up in a thrift shop the other day just because I couldn't resist it.  I read it almost exactly 40 years ago, when the first paperback edition came out, and I've never forgotten it.  It's short (always a plus!), fast, and dark.   

It opens with a sentence that Stephen King admires (see On Writing): "This is what happened."  The narrator, Rex Jeanrette, and his hunting buddies, all of them combat veterans of various wars (WWII, Korea) are deer hunting when they spot another group of hunters across a river.  Suddenly one of the other hunters brings up his rifle and shoots one of Jeanrette's group, wounding him, and one of that group fires back, killing a man.  That's what happened.  But what it leads to, well, that's the rest of the book.

Jeanrette is a sociopath who'd be right at home in one of Jim Thompson's novels.  The other men all seem to have something missing in their lives, something they haven't experienced since being in combat.  Jeanrette recruits a couple of others who are much the same, Vietnam vets who are just drifting because since combat they have nothing much to focus on.

Shoot shows macho taken to the extreme.  And it's right up to date.  It could've been written last week with some simple changes, or so it seems to me.  It's noir of a very dark hue, too, though the subject isn't one of the traditional ones noir deals with.  Check it out and see what you think.


TracyK said...

I think this may be a bit too macho and dark for me, but I appreciate you sharing it with us. I wish I ran into books like this at the thrift store.

Unknown said...

I liked this one at the time. The film version, filmed in Canada with Cliff Robertson and Henry Silva, is worth seeing.

George said...

Like you, I read SHOOT decades ago. It's an effective thriller. I haven't seen the movie version, but I'll track it down. I like Cliff Robertson and Henry Silva.

Mike Dennis said...

SHOOT is a great novel, an example of "Macho Noir". But Fairbairn's best work by far is STREET 8, set in Miami in 1977. This was when Cuban exiles were becoming less and less interested in reclaiming their homeland and more and more interested in taking power in Miami itself. Every Florida crime fiction writer I know credits this book as a major influence on his/her writing.

Unknown said...

I read that one long ago, when it came out in paperback. It's a very different kind of book, as I recall, but a great one.