Saturday, September 28, 2019

There's a hippie on the highway - James Hadley Chase

Book was read between 17th of September 2019 and 19th of September 2019

Edition Details:
Format : Paperback
Page Count:
Publisher: Mastermind Books
ISBN: 9788186734315
Price: 85 Rs


There's a hippie on the highway - James Hadley Chase
There's a hippie on the highway - James Hadley Chase

First Sentence:
"Take a look at that lot!", the truck driver said and he spat out of the window of the cab.

Story:
When Harry Mitchell returned after  three years of army in Vietnam,  he's surprised to find that a lot has changed in the time since he was away from the country.

The world has become more senseless and more violent.There are hippies on the road that are as high as kite and they can get really violent. Why are they wasting their life? This is the question he's not able to understand.

He's going towards Paradise city in search of a job which could pay him for a couple of months. He just needs some sun and air before heading towards New york.

But then everything changes when a girl in garb of giving him a ride sticks him with a dead body.

The dead guy looks like he has been tortured. Harry knows if some cop finds this body on him, then he would have a hefty price to pay.

But there are questions that are bothering him.

Who's the dead guy? What was so important that someone would torture him? Who was the mysterious woman who had made him a patsy?

And he has no intention of letting these questions go.

Could Harry find the answers to the questions that were bothering him?  What problems he's going to get because of this dead body?

Read the book to find that out.


Major Characters:
Harry Mitchell - Ex-Paratrooper sergeant who had just returned from the army and now was heading towards Paradise city
Sam Bentz - A truck driver who had given Harry a ride till orangeville
Toni Morelli - Owner and Chef of Good Eats, a  restaurant at yellow acres
Maria Morelli - Daughter of Toni
Chuck - leader of the four hippies that had entered Morelli's place
Randy Roache - A guy who was running from the hippies. He worked as a bar tender at Dominico restaurant
Solo Domnico - Owner of Dominico restaurant.He had also been a thief at one point
Sam Domnico - Son of Solo who was in army
Nina Domninco - Daughter of Solo
Manuel - Captain of waiters in domnico restaurant
Joel black -  a guy who had hired the car
Tom Lepisky - Detective second grade Paradise Police
Baldy Riccard - A thief who had been active in Paradise city
Emannuel Carlos - A rich guy in Paradise city who was regular at Dominico
Joe - Worked bar at Dominico restaturant
Max Jacoby - Detective third grade
Joe Beigler - Sergeant
Frank Terrel - Detective of Police
Carrie - Frank Terrel's wife
Danny O brien - A forger who used to forge old coins. Friend of Baldy Riccard.
Mai Langley - Baldy's girl
Do do Hammerstein - Owner of a restaurant called The lobster and the crab. She was contact of Tom.
Nahn - A vietemese girl with whom harry had developed a relationship in  Vietnam
Lieutenant Alan Lacey - belonged to Miami Homicide Squd
Goldie White - Mai's friend
Jack Thomas - Goldie's pimp
Fernando Cortez - Mrs Carlos chauffeur
Carroll Lepisky - Tom's wife

My Views:
The Hippe on the highway is a story of a war veteran who has returned from his stint in the army. He's back to civilian life and knows how precious is that. We see world from his viewpoint and while reading feel that we are lucky that we didn't have to face the conditions that he has gone through. War is not as romantic to him  as it's to a civilian. He has gone through some bad things there and now wants to live in peace. He wants to forget that traumatic experience.

As a reader you see his perspective and understand why he get's angry at civilians who have everything that he desired in those three years and yet they act so miserable and tend to waste what they have.

James hadley Chase through this novel has raised a pertinent point that there are things in life that are very precious and most of the times those are things that most people take for granted. Peace, love,loving relationships are the one that one should focus on but most of the times these are the things that always get sidelined. Harry yearns for these but for the most part these are the things that have eluded him.

The story for major part is  a murder mystery. And there are two partys who are trying to uncover the mystery.

 We have a body and a hero who is inadvertently brought into the matter. He then tries to uncover why the murder was committed. He knows if the police finds out about the body they are going to blame him for that and hence it's important for him to go the root of the matter.

Meanwhile, there's a police officer called ,Tom Lepisky, who is aching for a promotion and he knows if he could solve some important case, he's going to get it. And then one thing leads to another and we find Tom Lepisky is also investigating the same case.Here the book takes the turn into a police procedural and as a reader we keep reading to find out what would be the conclusion of the matter.
Would police blame Harry, as Harry believes? Would they be able to uncover what really happened?
You'll keep reading the book to find the questions to these answers. And the good thing is that here the cops are not shown as completely dumb people. They are intelligent and are good at what they do.

There are many interesting characters in the book which the reader gets to meet during the course of the story.There is Sam Benz, the morellis, Danny O Brien, Goldy white,Alan Lacey. These are some of the very interesting characters and i really liked the portions featuring them. The portion with Tom and his wife Carol is another part which makes for an interesting read. The way she drives him crazy was something funny to me.

The story is mostly fast paced. But there are times when you feel story is getting side tracked.We get to see what the police is doing but Harry on the other hand is shown busy with other things.There is not a sense of urgency in the way in which he deals with the situation. If the author had pitted Harry and Tom against each other more explicitly,which at one point felt like would happen but it never transpired, then i think it would have been more fun to read.

It's a good story which keeps you hooked till the end. There are enough red herrings in the book that would keep you guessing the real culprit.

The ending of the book is worth mentioning. It ends on a very sad note highlighting the time of senseless violence that people were living at that time. I think that part was not necessary but James put it there to make a point. This novel was written in 70's i guess when the hippie culture was in full swing. Although now the hippie culture is not a rage but the violence is still there. This makes it relevant for today's time. You open any newspaper and you get to see it and you think if any of this would change or you wonder if some humans are wired to be such beings. The ending remark of Harry forces you to keep thinking about it for a long time.

You know that we are really living in the age of senseless violence and we can't get away from it. It's everywhere.


Rating: 4/5

Have you read this book? If you have then what did you think of it? Do write your thoughts in the comments.

If you haven't read this book then you can get it from the following links:

You can get this book from the following links:
Paperback

I have read James Hadley Chase's other novels. You can read my views about them by clicking on the following link:
James Hadley Chase

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