Sunday, March 1, 2009

Catching Up #23: TRIGGER CITY by Sean Chercover

Sean Chercover deserves every bit of praise that is rained down upon him with the force of a fucking tsunami. His Ray Dudgeon PI series is shaping up to be something totally its own thing. And not only do I love the shit out of this series, but my mom does too!

Okay, so that isn't exactly high praise on this site, I know. You come here because you want the Nerd to talk about the down-and-dirty, to convince you that yes, this book he is reviewing is up your sick, dark fucking alley and that you, fucked up noir crazy that you are, should read said book. But don't stop reading, dear devoted reader, don't shake your head and say, "This book is for the cat cozy set, and I shall look elsewhere, thank you very much." Don't do it, I say! Just fucking don't, reader-who-talks-to-themselves-for-some-reason-while-online.

Because Chercover's Dudgeon series walks that fine magical line that I happen to love just as much as the crazy, seems-like-it-was-written-just-for-a-psycho-like-me stuff. I don't mean to blaspheme but I think that Dudgeon will soon be likened to Patrick Kenzie of Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro books, a character also beloved by my mom. See, Dudgeon just sprints down the same high-wire that Kenzie did. He's a violent man who all too often embraces his violent side, but he's also looking for love and trying to do the right thing. He's just dark enough that I love the hell out of him, but not so dark that my mom - who is a fanatical mystery reader but not much for male writers - can't follow him as well.

In other words, Trigger City deserves to be read by fucking EVERY genre fan.

The book picks up many months after the end of Big City, Bad Blood. Dudgeon and his british ladyfriend have called it quits and now Dudgeon is hiring his own apprentice, ex-mob thug Vince from Big City, to keep an eye on her new beau. Yeah, it's creepy, but Ray's lovesick. Lay off him.

He's also taken a new case, one that should be open and shut (but if you've read a book before, you know it ain't that easy). A woman was murdered by a crazy co-worker who then took his own life. There's no doubt that he did it whatsoever, not even in Ray's mind. But regardless, the woman's father, an ex-military man of great wealth, wants Ray to look into it, even gives Ray fifty grand flat if he'll take the case - and no others - for six weeks straight. Ray, whose rep has been tarnished since a bunch of folks around him got killed last go around, needs the money and it seems like an easy gig - just let the old man know what he discovers about his daughter.

But of course, it turns out there was more going on here than what the cops came up with. Turns out the woman and her co-worker both were previously employed together at a Blackwater-like military corporation. So it's cover-ups and conspiracies galore and this shit goes all the way to higher-ups, I tells ya! But this is a Ray Dudgeon book, so it never gets too crazy, never gets too implausible.

Now you're thinking, "A somewhat plausible conspiracy book, you say Nerd? I don't believe you."

Well, believe it, skeptical-douche reader. Chercover never steps wrong in Trigger City, gives you just enough crazy but not so much that you guffaw out loud (GOL anyone?). Like I said above, dude knows how to walk fine lines, and his ability to make the PI novel into something of the real world is one of said fine lines.

But again, you don't read the Dudgeon books for the plots, good as they may be, but for Dudgeon himself. This time around he's even more tortured than usual, not just because he fucked up his love life but because he was well, tortured last time around and can't get through the night without a fucked-up nightmare. He also straight-up murders another person in this book with truly sick results that will no doubt come back around to haunt him in the next book. It's a great twist that will leave you reeling, no doubt about it

So grab yourself a copy of Trigger City and then lend it to your mom. And no, that ain't a slam. This is the good stuff, the dark stuff, the cream-your-pants awesome stuff...that EVERYONE should be reading, fan of the site or not.

Ray Dudgeon LIVES!

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