Thoughts on books, often interpreted through the high-brow prism of cartoon (read: Archer) references. Wait! I had something for this...
“I was doing a nickel bit in the hoosegow…under glass because of a loose jawed stoolie who'd snitched to the bulls.”
That line wasn't penned by Roger Hobbs. Actually, it probably doesn't even make sense, but I've always operated under the notion that if I can't be a hardboiled criminal, at least I can try to coopt their lingo. So, if for that reason alone, reading Ghostman was a worthwhile endeavor (especially since the Sam Spade terminology is probably getting a bit dated).
The titular role of “ghostman” is among the more difficult to define. Probably because “there isn't a proper name for what we [they] do.” Professional imposters in the business of disappearing is the best I can do for now. But, despite their solitary nature, a ghostman doesn't do a job alone (far from it).
“This was a job with strict plans, timing and endgame—a jugmarker’s heist from beginning to end.”
A jugmarker, of course, can “[write] heists the way Mozart wrote music.” The jugmarker, from miles away, can bring all the right people together. If a safe's involved you'll need a boxman—preferably one who's “half computer programmer, half demolition expert,” maybe a linguist, and a solid wheelman for sure. A pair of buttonmen who, though they rarely look tough, “hurt people for a living,” are a must as well.
But, there's kind of a catch: “jugmarkers are notorious for taking revenge on people who rat on them. Some don't even kill snitches right away. They kill a guy’s whole family first, just to get his attention.” And, though our guy, Jack, is no snitch, he's dealing with one twisted marker…the kind who will force feed a guy a jar of nutmeg and leave him “to bite off his own tongue and drown in the blood.”
Though I can't speak to the verisimilitude of the criminal lexicon, it does make for fun reading. This ghostman's a pro—heck, he even accounts for exigent circumstances and the plain view doctrine.