hostility that had no handles on it

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Senior Member
"Had I been a cop too long? Had I come to dislike someone simply because he'd been up the road[in jail]? No, it was the disingenuousness, the hostility that had no handles on it, the use of one's race[white] like the edge of an ax.
But why expect otherwise. I thought. We'd been good teachers."
From "Burning Angel" by James L. Burke.
What's the meaning of "no handles on it"? Thanks for the help.
  • KHS

    Senior Member
    I agree with Tazzler - uncontrolled anger/hostility.

    This is not a common expression; James Lee Burke's books are not just popular fiction but really literary in style and language, and as such, he uses expressions that are created out of his own sense of the language for a specific effect.
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