"As a theme in literature, revenge has been around forever. Moby Dick
is a revenge yarn, and despite the fact that college courses have been
built around the 'hidden symbolism' of the story, I suspect that Herman
Melville -- and his readers, too -- were more contemporarily concerned
with the adventure aspects of the tale, its pacing, and the monster
waiting to make hash of Captain Ahab at the end."
Hidden symbolism, quote unquote. Do you think Mr. Newton has actually
read Melville? Probably not. He also quotes with admiration the
opening of William Nolan's The White Cad Cross-Up, which we loved
too, for different reasons:
"The Marshal's big automatic crashed twice, and two .45 slugs whacked into
my chest. At close range, the force of the bullets drove me back like
boxer's fists, and I landed on the rug, gasping and plenty nervous."