Charlie Newton - Calumet City
Charlie Newton makes no effort to dodge cop noir’s inherent clichés in his debut, but rather uses them to lure the reader into something grimmer than they could have anticipated. There’s naturally a hard-as-nails Chicago detective at the book’s centre, trying to unravel a complex web of violent intrigue stretching from street level gang-bangers all the way up to the mayor’s office. While Patti Black is tough on the exterior, though, inside she’s torn to bits by a childhood of ritual sexual abuse; the very thing that proves to be quickly catching up with her and everyone else around.
The action is relentless and the tension high throughout, keeping the pages flicking at some rate. It all gets a bit blurred and exhausting after a while, but there’s enough of a tweak on a well-flogged genre here – and enough authority and dark humour in Newton’s voice – to likely bring the movie execs prowling.