Saturday, August 1, 2009

Read: "At the City's Edge" by Marcus Sakey

Read: At the City's Edge by Marcus Sakey, 2008, 9780141027760 (Limey paperback version).

I got a copy of this when Sakey was tossing them out to anyone who asked a question during his time on stage at ALA in July, '09. This was pretty decent. It was long too at 430 pages. A nice, cynical look at Chicago politics and crime.

Jason Palmer is a PTSD refugee from the Army. In fact, his PTSD was bad enough that he was fucking up while in uniform and had a less-than-honorable discharge. He's been drinking a lot, living in a month-to-month apartment, and banging sluts in the evenings. His brother Michael is a widower with an 8-year-old son, Billy. Michael owns a bar in a shithole (and imaginery) neighborhood of Chicago called Crenwood. Jason avoids a kidnapping linked to Michael. But, Michael is a do-gooder fighting the good fight in the Crenwood.

Michael ends up murdered and the bar burned down around him. Billy witnesses the murder and runs to Jason. Jason hides out with Billy and teams up with local gang intelligence cop Elena. Jason and Elena follow a trail leading to a gun dealing, the local gang bangers, a vicious murderer, an Alderman, and a super wealthy dude.

The mystery plot is okay. Nothing too great and exciting about it but very competent and keeping you guessing and moving along. Of course, since this is a mystery all the suspects and possibilities are presented early on. Nice conspiracy angle but a little far fetched in its reach.

The good stuff is the gritty look at a Chicago. The insight into the difficulty of dealing with gangs and getting kids out of them. Jason's tough dealing with responsibility and various guilt over his dead mother, dead brother, and a dead soldier in his infantry squad.

Included is: SIG love, military lingo, latina hot stuff, climactic death of bad guy, tragic but noble death of a good guy, Glock 27 love.

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