Sunday, August 15, 2021

Review: End of the Tiger and Other Stories

End of the Tiger and Other Stories End of the Tiger and Other Stories by John D. MacDonald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

MacDonald, who published 500 stories and 70+ novels in his career was a master craftsman and this collection of 14 stories and 1 novella shows off his technique quite well. The collection opens with “Hangover”, which was published in 1956, and reads like an episode of Mad Men, as an alcoholic ad executive gets fired for saying the wrong things (namely the truth) to Detroit auto executives at a big rollout meeting. “Blurred View” is a neat noir with an inventive double-cross ending. Same with “The Fast Loose Money,” only with a long simmering revenge twist added in. The plot twist of “Triangle” - a story of a husband trying to hide an affair - is absolutely devilish and MacDonald pulls it off smooth as can be. The novella “The Trap of Solid Gold” was published in 1960 and depicts the now all too familiar story of a young executive forced to live beyond his means to maintain the image - with home, cars, country club memberships, etc. - that the company expects its executives to portray; and the inevitable downfall ensues. Amazing ending sentences, which it will not spoil the story to quote: “Happy endings were reserved for stories for children. An adult concerned himself with feasible endings. And this one was feasible, as an ending or as a beginning. You had to put your own puzzle together, and nobody would ever come along to tell you how well or how poorly you had done.”

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