Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Book Review: "Trigger City" by Sean Chercover

Last year I found a new author named Sean Chercover, who writes a series of books featuring Chicago PI Ray Dudgeon. I really enjoyed his first book, Big City, Bad Blood, and although it's taken me a while to get around to his second book, Trigger City, I'm happy to say it's just as good, if not better.

Joan Richmond was the head of payroll for a Chicago company. One Sunday afternoon she was shot and killed by a former employee, Steven Zhang, who left a confession before killing himself. All of those around him noticed Zhang's erratic behavior changes in the few months leading up to Richmond's murder, but no one expected him to react in this way. While this seems like an open and shut case, Dudgeon is hired by Joan's father, a retired military commander with whom she had a somewhat strained relationship, to find out "the truth." But the truth isn't quite what it seems, as it appears Joan's previous employer was a military contractor with secrets to hide—and lots of people interested in keeping them hidden, no matter what. And as Dudgeon continues his investigation while dealing with his own personal issues, he realizes no one quite knows what the truth really is, and maybe that's a good thing.

Chercover's second book moves quickly, has a terrific plot and lots of twists, some of which I didn't see coming. Dudgeon's character is really complex; he's more than just a stubborn private investigator—he has enough personal demons to keep several psychiatrists busy. But he is determined to protect those in need of help, no matter what the cost may be to himself. That complexity, plus some great action, makes for a really fast and compelling read. Plus, the book makes you think about how our government's reach keeps expanding. I hope Chercover plans to keep writing—I want to know what's next for Ray Dudgeon, and you will, too.

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