Big City, Bad Blood

  • 179683Author: Sean Chercover
  • Published: January 2007 by William Morrow & Co
  • Category: Crime/Thriller/Suspense
  • three-half-stars

A disillusioned newspaper reporter turned private detective, Ray Dudgeon isn’t trying to save the world. He just wants to do an honest job, and do it well. But when doing an honest job threatens society’s most powerful and corrupt, Ray’s odds for survival make for a sucker’s bet. . . .

While working on a movie in Chicago, Hollywood locations manager Bob Loniski saw something he shouldn’t have. Now he’s a prosecution witness against a suspected member of the Chicago Outfit. Petrified, he comes to Ray for protection. Ray’s mob contacts insist that they have no interest in Loniski, so he takes the bodyguard gig.

Then people start dying and everything goes to hell.


My Review

Bob Loniski is a Hollywood locations manager. After renting a warehouse for use in a movie set he finds out it’s part of a real estate scam run by the Chicago Mafia. Fearing for his life after he agrees to testify Bob engages the services of PI Ray Dudgeon as his bodyguard.

Ray Dudgeon is an ex newspaper reporter turned PI, a hard drinker who works to his own principles and ideals, and could be described as hard-boiled (a cliché, I know, but it fits) with a sensitive side. I like the way his back story is revealed as the story progresses. Philip Marlowe sprang to mind initially but I think there are a couple of others in there too.

A really good story, action packed with well developed and believable characters. Very atmospheric and gritty, the main part of the story takes place in Chicago and peripherally in Hollywood and Washington DC. Chicago’s seedier side is shown with corrupt officials and mobsters running things but also the vibrant, exciting side too and it’s very evident in the real and genuine descriptions of Chicago, the Mafia, the workings of Private Investigators and the Police, and the interaction between them, that the author knows an awful lot about what he writes. It’s a very apt title as the big city has an abundance of bad blood. There’s a very graphic torture scene that made my toes curl.

Although the bad guys are known from the beginning, following Ray as he does what he can to keep Loniski alive is full of tension and realism. I thought the supporting cast were well drawn, diverse and interesting. I only recently found Mr Chercover’s work when I listened to The Trinity Game, which I loved. This is completely different but still very enjoyable. I have Trigger City ready in my TBR pile.

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