Squeeze by Christopher Rhatigan (All Due Respect)
I loved this short noir tale. Lionel Kasper is an amateur reporter, a drunken gambler who’ll do anything to get a headline. He’ll even fabricate a story and lay on a SQUEEZE. In his quest to stay ahead of the competition Kasper even blackmails the local senator. But his past catches up with him when a rival reporter, Greg Hulas, becomes suspicious and looks into Kasper’s invented stories. Things spiral out of control as Kasper desperately tries to cover his tracks and save his job.
It’s not what I expected, slower in pace than what I normally read. My crime fix is usually fast paced and hard-boiled – so I had difficulty comparing this – but the story doesn’t suffer. I really enjoyed it. SQUEEZE is timeless – set in the present, but it could just as easily the 1950s. I found myself sucked in and I kept asking myself: how the hell is Kasper going to get out of this? Christopher Rhatigan (author of the collection, WAKE UP, TIME TO DIE) leaves you guessing where Lionel Kasper’s exploits will eventually take him. I can feel the journalist’s despair has he hopelessly losses control. Will he manage to con his way through or will his nemesis – rival reporter, Hulas – get the better of him? Excellent stuff! (Jack Bantry)