Read: Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover, 2007, 9780061128684.
I enjoyed reading this and finished it pretty fast. There were some things that did not fit so well.
Ray Dudgeon is a former journalist who now works as a private investigator in Chicago. Ray and his new girlfriend have really hit it off but Dudgeon gets into a lot of scrapes and his girlfriend does not know if she can deal with that. Dudgeon gets hired to protect a locations manager for a film company getting ready to film in Chicago. Locations Guy got conned by a mob (the "Outfit" in Chicago) guy named DiMarco when Locations Guy was renting studio space in town. Locations Guy is set to testify against DiMarco but is getting threatened. Ray takes the threat seriously when other witnesses are killed.
Ray takes the bodyguard job. Ray gets beat up by DiMarco's boss's goons. Ray finds out that low-level Outfit guy DiMarco is in cahoots with an upper level Outfit guy who is making a play on Outfit leadership. Ray's girlfriend never wants to see him again. Ray travels to Los Angeles with Locations Guy. Ray avoids getting carbombed in LA. Ray fucks famous LA actress he meets at party. Famous actress gives Ray fancy Shelby Mustang. Ray and Locations Guy return to Chicago. Ray sets-up and murders DiMarco since DiMarco is trying to kill Ray too. Locations Guy and his assistant are tortured and killed. Ray finds out DiMarco was blackmailing multiple politicians and cops in Chicago. Ray gets out of trouble in killing DiMarco and turns over evidence of the the blackmailing to make nice. Ray goes down to Georgia to heal up after getting tortured by the outfit for the blackmail evidence.
Chercover uses a lot of characters. There are the usual assortment of PI people: the PI, the girlfriend, the PI's cop friend, the PI's "anything for you pal" buddy from childhood, the client's sleazy boss, the bad guy, the outfit guy who is friendly with PI. There is not enough time for Chercover to really get to everyone.
The girlfriend was a neat character but gets cut off halfway through when she dumps Dudgeon. The "anything for you pal" childhood buddy makes a sudden appearance near the end when he previously had never been mentioned. DiMarco and his evil outfit boss never appear in person until DiMarco's murder (not too big deal, Chercover dealt with that well) and Ray's torture. Chercover fleshes out Locations Guy some but I never had much sympathy or worry for the dude.
Chercover had good gun stuff but I have read that there is a fat chance a private investigator in Chicago could get a carry license for work. But, hey, it's a novel and Ray did have a cop friend with rank.