Okay, chapter 16 is 20 pages long instead of the measly 4 pages we got in chapter 15. And it has three (count ‘em, three) murders: Aggie, Aggie’s Friend in Drunkenness and Innocent Bystander Moxie, and an attempt on Our Hero Joe.
Aggie’s murder scene is unnecessarily unpleasant. The villain lights a cigar and tells Aggie that if she can smoke it until it’s ash, she can live, but if she spits it out before it’s burned down all the way he’ll shoot her. (Spoiler alert! She dies.) One of my earliest unpleasant memories of Jerry is of him holding my asthmatic brother down and making him smoke a cigarette until his lips turned blue. We hate the villain already, it seems perverse to add extra cruelty. That scene might need to go away.
Dark. It’s a dark chapter. However, when Joe is taken to the hospital to be pronounced dead, he isn’t quite dead yet, so we will see what happens.