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The Death of Jack Hamilton : King’s Surprisingly Charming Tale About The Dillinger’s Gang

The Death of Jack Hamilton By Stephen King

There has been a dry spell of reading lately. I’ve been busy with so many other things that I’m tired all the time and tend to get whatever sleep life allows me. But it seems even the most worn out person can have a sleepless night. I’m not sure why or how that‘s possible, but tired red eyed laying in my bed I find myself trying to solve the mystery of what stole my sleep away. But never mind that mystery. That is a topic for another blog. Point is in my full blown awakeness I decided to read and I read the closest thing I had. It was a short story collection called Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King. Out of it I read a short story called the Death of Jack Hamilton.

The story itself is about the Dillinger gang as in the 1930's notorious bank robber Dillinger and is told through the eyes of Homer Van Meter. Homer is a member of that gang and friends with the lot of them. It is set toward the end of Dillinger’s life as J. E. Hoover and Parish’s FBI agents are closing in on them. One day during a getaway one of the members are shot. He is Jack Hamilton, and in the aftermath of the getaway, they do all that they can to lay low and save their friend at the same time, but all efforts are worthless as they cannot save their friend. And its portrayed as a dark omen for the changing times for gangsters and the upcoming dark fate for Dillinger we already know from history class. And no. None of this is a spoiler. In fact the title gives away what I just said.

So the good and bad? Let’s start with the good. It’s a period piece that is seamlessly tied into history. King did a surprisingly well job keeping this close to true events. Then there is the core concept of this that holds the story together. It is the friendship of the characters that keeps this together. Their back stories all tie together and their bond seems so real. As they do everything in their power to save their friend, you want them to succeed. They are interesting likable characters, which is something King seems to fail at in a lot of his other works. I usually end up not caring or liking his characters in most books. But in this I made some sort of connection with these people. They seemed real to me.

The bad? Not much. Being a period piece I wish it would have more detail though. Due the fantastic American public school system (I say that with sarcasm) I learned next to nothing about American history, so detail would help me see things the way they were back then. And one other thing which really wasn’t a problem with me, but might be a problem for the other folks. There are no spooky curses or things from beyond in this tale. No supernatural elements what so ever. So don’t read this expecting something to jump out and go “Boo!” because it won’t.

Overall it’s a good read. I recommended to everyone. It’s a pleasant reminder that King can write well, he just tends to get a lost as he goes on his quest to find that next scary thing.

4 smoothies out of four.

Overall rating: King’s Surprisingly Charming Tale About The Dillinger’s Gang.

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Have You Read This Book?


Rose McCoy on June 18, 2020:

I remember reading this story... the book is on my bookshelf right now! A little too creepy for my tastes, but it was a good change of pace from what I usually read.

Uriel Eliane from Toronto on June 13, 2020:

I'm not a fan of horror, so King is definitely not on my authors' list. But this sounds like a good book. Thanks for the review!

Louise Powles from Norfolk, England on June 13, 2020:

I've not read this book, but it sounds like one I would enjoy. Thanks for the review. :)

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