Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Jostlers by Michael Zuroy

The Jostlers by Michael Zuroy.
Short Story in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1962

Michael Zuroy wrote many fine short stories. His work has been published in AHMM, Trapped, Guilty, and others. One story that is exceptional is "The Jostlers"

Oliver Beemis is a 48 year old reserved man. He avoids contact with people when possible, particularly physical contact. For 20 years he has been shoved and pushed in the NYC subways going to work, and he has had it. Beemis plans to murder the next man who forces his way through him on the subway. He contemplates numerous ways to commit the crime and comes up with a way to poison the person using an altered mechanical pencil. The day is set and on the subway a victim is selected. Only problem is when Beemis is ready to strike, the victim is just out of reach. Beemis is forced to move from station to station, subway to subway to catch up with him. Unknowing to himself, he becomes aggressive and forces his way through others to reach the victim. Eventually he is close enough to strike the victim, when another passenger physically confronts Beemis for jostling him. The result of this encounter does not go well for Beemis.

Very suspenseful and fast paced. Zuroy creates a obsessive, calculating character in
Oliver Beemis. The reader is taken on the hunt with Beemis, as he stalks the victim with anxiety and panic. The storytelling has a claustrophobic atmosphere, which adds to the suspense.

One of the many quality stories in this edition of the Mike Shayne Magazine. Included are short stories: "The Mousy Man" by
Murray Leinster, and "Murderer's Role" by Talmage Powell. The novel in this issue is Frank Kane's "The Mourning After"-with PI Johnny Liddell. And the Mike Shayne story is excellent-"The Restless Redhead." I'm not sure who wrote this Shayne story but I really enjoyed it.

Pretty damn good crime fiction for just one issue!

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