Sunday, December 2, 2012

Read: "Faces of the Gone" by Brad Parks

Read: Faces of the Gone by Brad Parks, 2009, 9780312672805.

Decent.  Newspaper reporter investigates quadruple homicide in Newark and stirs up trouble.

Carter Ross is an investigative reporter for the big daily paper in Newark (and New Jersey).  When four drug dealers are murdered in a vacant lot in Newark Ross writes a story.  Ross works to discover the connection among the four dead dealers.  Ross gets hot for his editor who is angling to get pregnant and not too concerned about who the father may be.

Ross works with a intern (stereotypical gay guy for comedic relief).  Ross deals with his grouchy editor.  Ross works some contacts.  Ross speaks to friends of the dead.  Ross speaks to relatives of the dead.  Ross speaks to gang member pals of the dead.

The mystery aspects were not that interesting.  Parks has short sections following a drug king pin's thoughts but the reader just follows Ross around.  His thoughts on modern journalism and newspapers.  His demanding schedule.  His lonely home life.  The desolate sections of Newark.  The nice parts of Newark.  Newark's bad reputation and how it is sometimes incorrect.  The culture of inner-city Newark: a good kid gets "C" grades and is not arrested too often, a firebombed strip club is a a community and cultural focal point.

The strength of the book is Ross doing his work and Parks writing about the people living in Newark.  Not gritty and dark like Richard Price, lots of jokes, humor, and ball busting newsroom characters.

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