Re: RARA-AVIS: Re:Just finished TRIGGER CITY

From: Brian Thornton (
Date: 02 Nov 2008

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    I'm currently working on TRIGGER CITY (would have already finished it were October not such a busy, busy month in Thornton World), and enjoying it immensely. I am an admitted fan of Chercover's work though, no question. I loved BIG CITY BAD BLOOD, and am enjoying the sequel more.

    For my money, Chercover's more assured in the second book, his narrative voice is stronger, his connection with the murder victim killed before the action of the book begins (up to and including staying in her apartment) is a refreshing change from the relationship he had with the client-cum-victim in his first book, the one that he couldn't save (basically from himself), only avenge.

    And Dudgeon is unquestionably one of the great new P.I. characters. Where Kevin sees an obvious connection with Warshawski (Chicago PI, "looking to save people"), I see a stronger one to both Chandler and Ross MacDonald (and long-time denizens of this list will recall that I yield to no one in my ardent admiration for the work of Ross MacDonald)- "flawed" guy, not always nice (Marlowe) trying to "save" someone (Marlowe and Archer), and not always smart about it (Marlowe, Marlowe, Marlowe). Kevin is as usual quite astute in pointing out Dudgeon's propensity for assinine behavior exactly counter to his best interests. He is also correct in his estimation that Chercover's willingness to do this frees him up to have a lot more fun with the character and step outside (and in many ways broaden) the admittedly narrow confines of the "traditional P.I. novel."

    Mark my words, folks. You haven't heard the last of Sean Chercover. And TRIGGER CITY puts to bed any potential question as to whether his 2008 Shamus win for the horribly titled BIG CITY BAD BLOOD was some sort of fluke.

    Your Mileage May Vary-


    On Sun, Nov 2, 2008 at 9:40 AM, Kevin Burton Smith

    > Geoff wrote:
    > > Anyone else read this latest Sean Chercover novel yet?
    > >
    > > I read the first one, BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD, a couple weeks ago and
    > > think it is slightly better
    > > but that's just me. TRIGGER was my favorite read of the last couple
    > > months.
    > I think BIG CITY gets the nod, too, if only because TRIGGER CITY's
    > ending seems rushed, a little too sudden and pat. I prefer my endings
    > to resonate or knock me back on my heels. This one caught me off-
    > guard, wondering if I'd missed something.
    > But Sean's definitely created a great detective here, and his rough,
    > swirling description of a decidedly hard-edged Chicago is like wind-
    > blown grit -- you can feel it on your teeth.
    > His Ray Dudgeon is a fine mess. He should probably be in therapy, not
    > running around Chicago with a gun, trying to "save" people (Hmmm, does
    > that make him the male Warshawski? She's another Chicago eye with more
    > than a few "issues").
    > But it's Ray's flaws and Sean's willingness to have him act like a
    > jerk at times that makes the series such a great read. Knowing the
    > "hero" is fallible -- and not always that clever -- frees the plots up
    > considerably. A nice spin on the traditional P.I. tale.
    > Kevin Burton Smith
    > The Thrilling Detective Web Site
    > Celebrating 10 Years of P.I. Thrills

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