Thursday, April 26, 2012


 Sit in the Front Row of the Jury Seat and Prepare to be Horrified and Outraged!
Dragging Hooks might give us a hint of what to expect from Speicher in upcoming works. He seems to be heading in the direction of hard-boiled crime fiction. But what I enjoy about his approach is the fact that he hasn't lost touch with that altered-state-of-consciousness angle that was most evident in earlier works such as Closing my Eyes Helps me to See Clearly. You'll see what I mean when finally reading the story.
The only thing I want to say about the plot of Dragging Hooks is that the story opens with the investigation of the disappearance of a young woman. It's suspected that perhaps her body is at the bottom of a swamp, and equipment is being prepared to drag the bottom for her search. This is what gives the title of the story. Hooks will be thrown and stretched across the water to sink down and then pull whatever is at the bottom.
From there, Kipp places the reader in the front row of the jury seat as we get to witness testimony from the person guilty of this crime and the poor young woman who had to suffer from the murder. As I've come to realize, Kipp is highly skilled with placing himself in the shoes of his fictional characters and can blow life into them so that they speak to us.
While sitting in that jury seat I found myself outraged with the course of events. The person guilty of the crime was very much troubled. And I really felt for the young woman who suffered. She only loved her murderer and wanted to help him.
I thoroughly enjoyed the repeated thought-provoking contrasts that were splashed throughout the story. Just to warn the reader; there is mention of Baptism. At first I was a bit uneasy with a sacred rite being used in a work of fiction. But Kipp uses the imagery of this sacrament respectfully and it fits with the contrast to ultimately voice a compelling argument.
I give Dragging Hooks five stars! It's brilliantly crafted as not only a work of hard-boiled fiction, but continues to provide more thought-provoking moments of altered states of consciousness.

Tom Raimbault

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