Murder Me for Nickels

Murder Me for Nickels



The Pequod Review:

When Donald Westlake said, “Peter Rabe wrote the best books with the worst titles of anybody I can think of,” he very likely had Murder Me for Nickels in mind. Narrated in the first person (unique for Rabe), the book is the story of Jack St. Louis, the right-hand man for a local jukebox supplier. When the Chicago mob intrudes on the supplier’s exclusive territory, it’s up to Jack to fend them off.

Rabe’s witty and action-packed narrative has moments of gangster-style beauty:

I have never shot anyone, and I don’t think shooting’s easy. It isn’t like throwing a stone, or a punch, or anything like it. You press the trigger, and the thing is out of hand. It’s out of your hand; something else does the hating, and you’ll either fear the damage you’ll do or you know ahead of time that you’ll be left as before; same hat, same rage, just a bullet gone. And someone dead whom you did not even touch.

Benotti rushed me. While I stood around he made his rush. He cracked me across the side of the face and before the pain even came I felt like going to pieces. I had held back too long. I rocked across the aisle, hit a rack, and cracked open. That ball inside, is what I’m talking about. Then I was almost done and so was Benotti. My reach is better and I had the pistol.

I pistol whipped him, and I hit and hit, but not a watermelon, or a sack, but always Benotti.