Saturday, October 18, 2008

Book Review: James McKimmey, The Perfect Victim (1958)

James McKimmey's debut centers around the murder of a young woman in a small town. Townsfolk adored the victim, Grace, as a sort of tramp-with-a-heart-of-gold, and they are predisposed to accept the circumstantial evidence that points to a stranger--traveling salesman Al Jackson--as her killer. Jackson is a two-dimensional character (dimension #1: he's lecherous; dimension #2: he's a drunk), and the residents of Willow Creek are mostly small-town clichés. The novel's most interesting character is Buggie Alstair, who is a fraternity brother of a local boy and also a budding psychopath. On the whole, The Perfect Victim is sort of a tepid cross between Jim Thompson and Our Town. Grade: C

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