Monday, November 14, 2016
The Attitude Adjuster, by David Morrell
This story reminds me of a classic by Jack Ritchie, "For All The Rude People." Both start a guy getting ticked off at inconsiderate folks and deciding to fix the problem. The solutions they come up with are very different, and of course, that's the wonderful thing about fiction: two writers can take the same idea in two wildly different directions.
Morrell's star is Barry Pollard and what he likes to do is beat up rude people; put them in the hospital. He figures this attitude adjustment is good for people and they ought to be grateful for it. So one tipsy night he puts an ad on the internet offering to punish anyone who is suffering from a guilty conscience.
If you are brighter than Barry - not a high bar - you can see where that plot is going to wrong, and so it does.
The victim winds up in the hospital but his wife's best friend, Jamie Travers and her husband Cavanaugh, are in the protecting business and they set out to figure whodunit and whopaidforit.
My one complaint about the story is that the solution to that last problem feels unearned and a bit week. But the tale is definitely worth a read.