The manliest manly man to ever manly man
Here I am again, sitting in my dungeon, waiting for more light to seep through so that I can enjoy some of the myriad books I have on my shelves. Although, to be honest, I am not sure enjoyable is a word I would associate with this week’s book.
Many of my books are full of action and revenge plots. But none of them try to outdo the machismo that shows up in Fatal Justice. It’s not just hyper masculine, it’s downright hyper annoying. Let me give you a little summary of the book. Spoilers follow obviously.
A small town sheriff, Jack Lambert, spends a day and a half doing no sheriffing, drinking at a bar, hanging out with his girlfriend and murders a few bad guy mobsters. That’s the whole plot except to add that he also works for a secret government agency and has some spy equipment. Plus he has a dog.
There’s just not a lot to this book. It’s quite short (which I appreciate) but it’s also not surprising at all, very straightforward, kind of dull, and not a good book. It’s never a good sign when there are ads for a free book at the beginning and two other books in the series at the end. This author is begging for people to keep reading his stuff rather than, I don’t know, writing a good story and hoping people want to keep reading.
Jack spends the entire book thinking about guns, murdering people, sex, beer, and his dog in that order. Over and over again. I’m not sure if the author is really obsessed with these things, or just thinks that’s what a macho guy should think. It got pretty uncomfortable living in this guy’s head after a while. Let me give you some examples of his thoughts.
“…my Glock always gave me a warm fuzzy…”
“…if there was one thing I was really good at, and I mean Super Bowl Champion good, it was getting away with murder.”
“I shook away the vision of shooting all three of them in the parking lot and stuffing their bodies in the trunk in a compromising sexual position before taking a photo, posting it on their Facebook pages, and driving into the woods and setting it on fire.”
“She had probably been attractive sixty years ago, but old age and dementia didn’t excite me like they used to, so I kept my distance from her.”
“I flexed my pecs and drank some beer.”
“He had officially risen to equal the IQ of my dog London.”
That’s a small sampling but the entire book can be summed up with those quotes. It’s the same stuff throughout and it’s super clear the author just wants his character to be Dirty Harry. I’ve seen Clint Eastwood and Jack Lambert is no Clint Eastwood.
I should also mention that Jack is not that bright of a person, despite what this book wants you to think. This guy is some kind of super spy who does consultant work for this secretive agency. But unlike any good spy, he never seems to act in the capacity of his cover job of sheriff. He pretty much goes to a bar and drinks, but doesn’t seem to see the need to enforce any laws or even fill out paperwork or anything. At one point in the book he is trying to memorize a license plate. Normally I would say, sure that can take some mental capacity and depending on your vision you need to get up close to catch all the numbers and letters. However, the license plate in question is KING REX. That’s it. Pretty sure with normal vision you can see that and it’s not hard to memorize. Yet Jack makes specific mention of memorizing the plate and adds to himself that Rex in Latin means King so in effect the plate reads KING KING. So it wasn’t hard to memorize, he should be able to see it, and it’s unique in the little town he is in. Yet he spends like five minutes later in the book sneaking up on the car in the dark to see if he can see the plate. He seems to get really up close to the car too. That’s just not the work of a good spy.
Additionally, Jack takes this evil mob guy off to kill him but instead of doing the sensible thing and just shooting him and dumping his body, he just dumps the body into a well and then shoots. That clearly only happens so the mob guy can come back again. What kind of trained spy doesn’t make sure the body is dead?
Jack also thinks that a guy who has his life threatened by gunpoint and begs to be let go is “a submissive pansy.” Not everyone can be a manly man like you, Jack. It’s so great that manly men like you are around to do manly man things. Now to be fair the “submissive pansy” doesn’t do anything to try to stop a woman from getting nearly sexually assaulted, so it’s not like I like that character. I’m just saying that when your life is threatened, it can be reasonable to try to escape the situation.
I also thought this was a weird comment in the book in Jack’s head. “I silently vowed that my next girlfriend would be repulsive even to Shrek.” So a couple things here. One, Jack is so obsessed with how women look and bend over that even as a joke this doesn’t really work. Two, Shrek is all about inner beauty so uh, I think you were too dumb to understand Shrek there, Jack. Also, in the climax of the book when Jack is trying to get his girlfriend freed from the mob boss he thinks about how the forest always smells so good to him. Jack, focus. You need to focus here dude.
Now, Jack isn’t the only character in the book that either has odd thoughts or does things that make no sense. Here are some examples. Two mob goons call a waitress a wench. Wench? Really? Did we suddenly go the ren fair? Jack’s girlfriend, out of nowhere and with no previous mention of it, knows Judo. The mob boss saves his own life because he was a Boy Scout. That last one I didn’t have that much of a problem with but in the same section, he feels uncomfortable and disturbed because he is in the woods. Isn’t that where he learned his Boy Scout skills? At one point when the mob boss has Jack’s girlfriend hostage, and knows Jack is on his way to where they are, he takes the time to literally fondle and smell her high heels. Gross. And what? What kind of moron does that when you might get killed. I died sniffing sweaty shoes, but it was worth it!
In the end, Jack of course saves his girlfriend, gets to get away with murdering three people, feels no remorse about it other than the fact that his dog died (hmm… the dead dog thing reminds me of a certain film series) and continues to live in this town. Not sure why the town pays him to tell you the truth cause he just does murdery stuff and drinks. Although, technically Jack only throws the mob boss out of an airplane and doesn’t confirm the dude is dead, so maybe he only killed two people after all.
So, in conclusion, if you want a great story about a guy who is overly masculine, just re-watch Die Hard. You’ll have a much better time.
After all the violence, beer, sex and dogs of this book, I am going to try something a little lighter next week. I’ll be giving a read to Pets in a Pickle by Malcom D. Welshman. I’m thinking it’s either a really large pickle or small pets cause otherwise can’t they just eat their way out of it? We’ll see next time.