Sunday, June 30, 2013
A People Person, by Michael Koryta
The Private Eye Writers of America named the Shamus nominees today and one of them is the story I chose last week: "The Sequel," by Jeffrey Deaver. Excellent choice, but I am still feeling justified in listing Deaver's story and this one as 2013 because 1) I didn't read them until this year, and 2) the issue date covers through February of this year. So there.
What Koryta has given us is a lovely little character study about Thor, who has been the hit man for two decades for Belov, who is the head of organized crime in Cleveland. These two have been through tough times on two continents and, in a business that doesn't support long-lasting relationships, they seem inseparable.
Thor had seen his father killed at age six, and that was not the first corpse he had viewed.
The English word for the way Thor felt about killing was "desensitized," but he did not know that it was a proper fit. Maybe he was overly sensitized. Maybe he understood it more than most. Maybe the poeple who had not killed or could not imagine being killed were the desensitized breed.
What could come between Thor and his boss? Could there, to his own amazement, be a line he could not cross?
Yup, and a very unexpected one it turns out to be.