Saturday 11 January 2014

The Man With the Gloved Hand by James McKimmey

Allan Guthrie recommended this book when I told him I was interested in reading a bunch of crime fiction written in third person objective POV (AKA behaviourist POV). One of the best-know uses of this POV can be found in Dashiel Hammett's The Maltese Falcon. Basically, the writer chooses to tell the story without venturing into the minds of the characters. This can create a number of effects that are fun to play with, but generally it's a way of withholding information from the reader to increase tension and intrigue.

And there's plenty of tension and intrigue in McKimmey's novel. The story line is a little basic. A serial killer tale that was too easy to figure out. But what I found especially interesting about this book is how easy it was to read. The last example of third person objective POV that I'd read was Interface by Joe Gores (also recommended by Mr Guthrie). I felt a little lost in the opening chapters of Interface as the focus shifted quite quickly from one character to the next. There was no such confusion in this book. McKimmey's novel was much shorter than Gores', and the plot much less complex. Also, there were fewer characters to lose track of, and the protagonist Packy Hooper, by being present in every scene, served as an anchor.

All interesting food for thought as I continue to work on my own example of a third person objective/behaviourist POV for my PhD.

If you happen upon this post and think of other examples of behaviourist POV, please do feel free to recommend them in the comments section.

P.S. You can read Allan Guthrie's thoughts on The Man With the Gloved Hand in this round-up of McKimmey's work.

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