Monday, January 9, 2017


Great yarn marred
By incorrect “facts”

I JUST READ STEPHEN J. CANNELL’S Vigilante (ISBN978-0-312-64611-0).

I like the late author’s Cannell’s work (he died in 2010), in print and on the tube.

Problem is, I now can’t “trust” his facts.

IT’S A SMALL THING, but the book’s main character, Shane Scully, too often is “thumbing off the safety” of his 9mm Springfield automatic.

The company is Springfield ARMORY and the weapon is a semi-automatic, NOT an automatic; there IS a difference.

My Son The Cop has two Springfield Armory XDS semi-autos; a .40 and a .45. Neither has a thumb safety — a safety that the shooter moves to allow the weapon to fire.

I did some internet digging and learned that the only Springfield Armory semi-automatic with a thumb safety is the .45 “1911.” The 9mm, like my son’s .40 and .45 semi-autos lack this safety.

There ARE other ways to assure the weapons are “safe,” but a safety that the shooter “thumbs” on and off is not one of them.

Cannell had a killer using 129 grain Hydra-Shok Federal 9mm jacketed hollow point (JHP) bullets. Unfortunately for Cannell, the bullets are Federal (the company) Hydra-Shok (the product). A quick look at the Federal web site, 9mm Hydra-Shok bullets come in 124, 135, and 147 grain weights.

Granted, the non-existent thumb safety on the Springfield Armory 9mm SEMI-automatic and the use of non-existent 129 grain bullets are relatively minor issues.

But with the Internet, there is no excuse for factual errors. I know a little bit about handguns, albeit I’m no expert; sufficient that the errors caused me to pause and wonder about other “facts” that are in error; for example, police procedures.

I’m not sure where the blame lies for what I deem “blatant” errors — the author or the proofreaders. Since the publisher, St. Martin’s Press, is located in New York City — with its notorious gun laws — I doubt the fact checkers and proofreaders would have any knowledge of handguns and handgun ammunition.

Vigilante is a good read, and most the late author’s tv shows likewise hold interest, but — having read Vigilante I’ll be looking for other factual errors in other Cannell books and films.

While it doesn’t spoil his works for me, it does take some of the fun out of the product.

Checking the facts would have been so easy.

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