Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Trigger City, by Sean Chercover

"Facts are not truth."

Following shortly after his debut in Chercover’s Big City, Bad Blood, Chicago PI Ray Dudgeon is back with another case. Joan Richmond's death looks straightforward: a deranged co-worker, Steven Zhang, shot her in her home and then committed suicide. Dudgeon is hired by Richmond’s father Isaac, a retired Army colonel, to discover the truth behind Joan’s death – and life. He quickly finds himself embroiled in a web of deceit, cover-ups, and foreign intrigue.

Chercover once again does a stellar job portraying Dudgeon as a flesh and blood person, not just a character in a novel. Dudgeon is still dealing with the physical and emotional effects of going to war with The Outfit in Big City, just as any real human being would. He is as quick with a wisecrack as any of his PI predecessors, but typically goes for a more human response.

Dudgeon: "The pain was a houseguest you never invited, who doesn't know when to leave and insists on retelling the story of how you met, over and over."

As can be expected in a modern novel where a military contractor features heavily, there are times where Dudgeon (and Chercover) toe the line about how the Constitution is being shredded by the evil military-industrial complex. The first half to two thirds is awesome PI story but the ending is dragged down a bit by tedious politics that can be found in the pages of dozens newspapers and on hundreds of left leaning websites.

That being said, the strength of the writing and the depth of characters are enough to pull any reader through the wearying parts.

Trigger City and Sean Chercover get another recommendation from me.

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