Thursday, October 30, 2008


I surely hope someone makes a movie out of Sakey's latest novel, Good People. It has a strong story and characters, is loaded with tension, and chugs along at an extremely brisk pace to a satisfying, action-packed conclusion. In other words, it's just like Sakey's other two novels, The Blade Itself and At The City's Edge.

Except here Sakey really fucking brings it.

Good People begins with a quartet of professional thieves ripping off a movie star who is making a drug deal in a flashy downtown Chicago nightclub. Naturally, the heist goes bad and one thief ends up dead and another takes off with the whole score to himself.

Flash to a few weeks later to Tom and Anna Reed, a yuppie Chicago couple who are trying their damnedest to have a baby, and while the work certainly shows on their bank account, it isn't registering on their home pregnancy tests. The debt from the fertilization treatments is tearing apart their marriage until they find their tenant, a grumpy asshole with no family or friends, dead in his bed from a heart condition. What's more, they also find his stash of four-hundred grand...

After convincing themselves that taking the money won't hurt anybody, Tom and Anna soon find themselves hunted by the two thieves the dead man betrayed. And the drug dealer the four thieves ripped off originally. And the cops.

In other words, our J. Crew-wearing heroes are in way over their square little heads.

It's a great story that I read in no time (same as the other two Sakey novels) but this time I think he really has a handle on things. The bad guys are oh-so-fucking-bad, the good guys really get the screws put to them, and the balance between the Reeds' yuppie normalcy and the criminal underworld of the thieves is struck perfectly.

But I should say, that as with the last two Sakey novels, I still don't feel the true on-the-ledge danger, the sense that anything can happen. I never get the impression that either Tom or Anna will die or get mangled or have some other tragedy befall them (as could very well happen in a Jason Starr yuppie noir, something I kept thinking about throughout the novel). Sakey has established himself as a rock-solid crime writer, but certainly not one of the modern bad boys that have popped up in the last few years. No, he's more in line with someone like Michael Koryta, an author who no doubt brings some dark goods, but who you can also reccomend to your mom.

But then again, that's more a matter of personal taste than an actual complaint about the book. This is Marcus Sakey's story, after all. Can't blame him for not being Jason Starr (though the last half of Starr's The Follower felt pretty safe to me, making me mildly nervous about his next solo effort...). That being said, Good People proves that Sakey keeps growing with each book, and - from the rate he's been pumping these fuckers out - it probably won't be long before he tops himself yet again.

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