Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Trigger City

One of things I dislike most (besides lame Hollywood film remakes) is reaching the tail end of a book series that I really enjoy. While there are always other books to read (or in my case, listen to), a great novel series brings the kind of stories that blend the new right along with the familiar - all the while leaving the reader yearning for more. That's great when you start such a series, or are in the midst of one. It's not so good when you hit the wall, so do speak, and there's no next chapter in the string just sitting there... patiently waiting on you to get to it. This only goes to show the reader (me) that he's now hooked - relegated to waiting for that next novel fix. You end up trying to squelch that hunger by doing things like scanning the inter-tubes for any word of a publishing date for that next novel. Then, when you get the news you've waited on so desperately, you're counting the days down till the publishing date arrives. Not that I'm complaining... much. Although, this Crais-head really welcomes the autumn slide into January next because it'll deliver The First Rule come the 12th (there, I said it). Only now, however, I have to contribute another series-jones to my list of addictions (I'm excluding all things golf, for the sake of argument). I found myself taking stock of that fact yesterday morning when I finished Sean Chercover's Trigger City.

I've already noted how much I admired the author's debut novel, Big City Bad Blood, in an earlier post. The next in the series did not disappoint, at all. As well, the audiobook by Audible was just as solid as the first. This time, I had the benefit of some history with the P.I. character of Ray Dudgeon. Besides having the first book under my belt, Corey clued me in to the author's short story contribution in Killer Year (edited by Lee Child), One Serving of Bad Luck (which I consumed rather quickly after BCBI). The exemplary voice work done by audiobook narrator Joe Barrett (and the Audible studio directors) had his tones and inflections in my head as I read it (not a bad thing at all). The second novel added welcomed new layers to Ray, while he continued his painful recovery from what was meted out in the first book. Add to this, Trigger City included a timely and relevant plot to boot. The secondary characters (and I very much include the Second City here) Mr. Chercover used in the novels were a force multiplier with their impact on the series. Moreover, whatever the work experiences he gathered before he became a writer, seem to bring a certain reality to his story-lines. Like author Robert Crais, Sean can deftly build out and construct a character universe through his books (this one squarely centered on Chicago). He really made it easy to get immersed in the day-to-day lives of the characters, and grow comfortable with them (it has to be some sort of gift to be so habit-forming). I don't know what it is about the mystery/crime fiction genre that seems to draw this causing dependency reaction in its readership. The Horror and Sci-Fi lit I've read over the years rarely did that for me (Frank Herbert's Dune series being an exception). Even my Tom Clancy years never had this affect, either. Nevertheless, here I am... once again.
Hello. My name is Michael... and I'm a crime-fic series addict.
I never did smoke cigarettes (even in high school), chocolate no longer loves me, and I can't drink alcohol anymore (dammit). Great... All I have left is this series condition. All thanks to my dealers, the C-brothers (Crais & Chercover). I guess I can take the edge off by reading the Gravedigger Peace short, A Sleep Not Unlike Death, from the Hardcore Hardboiled collection, or the Ray Dudgeon piece in Chicago Blues (The Non Compos Mentis Blues) while I wait word on the next book. That, and cross off another day on The First Rule calendar I keep.

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  1. That Chercover. Yeah, I'm addicted, too.

  2. I haven't read those books (Damn it, my TBR pile keeps growing), but I do know how you feel. There are some book series which keep me only wanting more... and a drug (cigarrettes, alcohol, chocolate, et al.) metaphore doesn't suffice - the addiction is stronger.

  3. At one time it was John D Macdonald for me. Got hooked on the Travis Macgee series, but by the end was a little burnt on the formula. It was like, Look behind the door, aw crap, knocked unconscious again. John D's pulp fiction was classic though. Have you been there and done that? Plenty of creeps in there. Cape Fear anyone?

  4. Corey: I knew I could count on you for company at rehab ;-).

    Poncho: yes, it seems all of our TBR piles keep getting bigger. But, it does seem they are growing due to great content.

    HnL: that's another series I've always heard about, but never read. I should give it a go. Have one in the series you'd recommend?

    Thank you, all, for your comments.

  5. Well Travis starts with "The Deep Blue Goodbye" There is a color in each title, it ends with "The Lonely Silver Rain". About 16 novels. The gimmick, when you can't go to the police, ol' Travis will get your valuables back and keep 50%.
    Oh yes, Jimmy Buffet will tell you Travis Mcgee lives in Cedar Key. Get yours at the used book store and look for the oldest covers, I use to enjoy trying to collect the different cover art.

  6. That rings a bell! Though I never read the book, I did see the movie (long, long time ago) that was adapted from the novel Darker Than Amber. Rod Taylor played Travis McGee in this. And the muscular William Smith and he one of the most physical, brutal fights ever recorded on screen! Thanks for this, HnL.

  7. How do you do that, what a hoot! Sam Elliot played Travis in a made for tv movie, very mundane, "The Empty Copper Sea" Rod Taylor always played tough very well.

  8. Well hell,

    "Hi my name is Jen and I'm a crime fiction-a-holic."

    In my own defense, I have enablers who continue to feed my addiction. Which actually turns out to be good because while I'm waiting for RC, Craig Johnson can feed the addiction, and when I'm waiting for Craig, then Alafair Burke can feed the addiction, and when...well, you get the point!

  9. HnL: Rod Taylor was (and probably still is) tough (former boxer, I believe). He and William Smith did their own stunts in that action sequence.

    Jen: hey, all of us can have our rehab meeting at Boucheron 2011! Can you schedule a panel for us? We can invite those authors you mentioned to it so they can see what they've wrought ;-)

    Thanks to all for you for your fun comments.

  10. I am a crime/mystery-a-holic. I have learned to give other genres a go, but mysteries are my go-to book when I want to get lost for awhile. James Lee Burke is always a favorite, and I enjoy his daughter, Alafair Burke too. Love James Ellroy, great noir--Dennis Lehane has a terrific duo in his early books. My daughter has gotten me hooked on Hard Case Crime books. They are paperbacks and the covers are a take off of the 1950 mystery covers. Ah, so many books on TBR shelf....so little time. Rehab will be full....

  11. Glad you could stop by, Bev. Yes, rehab will be quite full. But, we'll have all the cool people to keep us company ;-). Thanks, Bev, for your comment.

  12. Hi. I wonder if you might write a piece for my forgotten book series. You can find it at http://pattinase.blogspot.com
    Email me if you'd be willing to do one. aa2579@wayne.edu
    Love to have you.

  13. I'm very flattered by your offer, pattinase. Thank you and I'll contact you.