RARA-AVIS: substance abuse and hardboiled chicks

From: BaxDeal@aol.com
Date: 24 Jul 2001

I recently read Greg Rucka's latest, SHOOTING AT MIDNIGHT. Rucka normally writes an excellent series about Atticus Kodiak, a professional bodyguard. Midnight is told in the first person from the point of view of Kodiak's estranged girlfriend, Bridget Logan, who works for a large private investigation firm.

You find out in the first chapter something about Logan that you didn't know in the first 3 Kodiak books: namely, she's a reformed junkie and she deals with "Mr. Jones" every day of her life. The story is about her trying to prove a friend of hers from rehab didn't kill her abusive, drug dealing boyfriend. Early in the story, Logan takes a baseball bat to the guy in an effort to convince him to leave her friend alone. Apparently, the message didn't take and he ends up dead.

I've read quite a few books lately with female protagonists. Lehane's Patrick Kenzie is equal partners with P.I. Angie Gennaro. Crais' DEMOLlTION ANGEL finds bomb squadder Carol Starkey struggling with demons. Michael Connelly's VOID MOON is about a female cat burglar trying to go straight. T. Jefferson Parker's Merci Rayburn is an Orange County sheriff's detective in THE BLUE HOUR and RED LIGHT. Tough cookies all, but none of them are as badass as Bridget Logan.

Logan struggle is such that she actually disappears in the middle section of the book and Kodiak takes over the narrative as he tries to find her. I certainly won't make light of the struggle with alcoholism. But in my view, it ain't even the same animal as Logan's struggle with Mr. Jones.

By anybody's definition of both noir and hardboiled, this book is both, in spades. As soon as you finish whatever you happen to be reading, each and every one of you on the list should pick up this book and try and put it down.

John Lau

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