Jennifer Rockwell, the Femme Fatale in this contemporary novel is dead and it is up to Detective Mike Hoolihan- an emasculated female detective (“If you take intelligence from me, if you take it from my face, then you really don’t leave me with very much at all.”) – to find out why.
Night Train is Martin Amis’ literary police procedural crime novel and true to literary type novels, character comes before plot. Hints that Jennifer Rockwell is a femme fatale are dropped throughout the novel.
She’s sexy: Jennifer Rockwell was a cleavage in a lab coat. But she wasn’t Mary Poppins. A spinning top looks still and stable until the force starts to weaken.
She’s confident: The confidence with which she carried it (her body) was self-evident, self-sufficient – I guess the word I want is “consummate.” She never needed to give it a moment’s thought. And when you consider how much the rest of us think about our bodies, and what kind of thoughts these are. Yes, absolutely right. We should all be so lucky.
She’s smart: Jennifer Rockwell was an astrophysicist who had everything to live for–brains, looks, the world’s best lover, and unlimited career horizons-
She’s tough: In every respect her intellect was tough.
She’s drop-dead gorgeous: I have known Jennifer Rockwell since she was eight years old. She was a favorite of mine. But she was also a favorite of everybody else’s. And I watched her grow into a kind of embarrassment of perfection. Brilliant, beautiful. Yeah, I’m thinking: to-die-for brilliant. Drop-dead beautiful…She had it all and she had it all, and then she had some more. Guys? She had them coming out of her hair…
Being dangerous is also a hallmark of the femme fatale. In Jennifer Rockwell’s case she is dangerous to herself as well as to detective Hoolihan. As Hoolihan unravels the false clues that Jennifer leaves behind, she struggles to understand the dead woman’s existence. In doing so, it becomes apparent to Hoolihan that Jennifer has left behind these clues for her to fall into Jennifer’s desperate trap.
Sexy, confident, smart, tough, gorgeous and dangerous. All characteristics of the femme fatale.