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June 28, 2010 / C.T. Henry

Two Very Different Private Eyes: Ray Dudgeon and Patrick Kenzie

I just don’t get all the hype about this book and this author.  Although Trigger Citys plot is much better than Big City, Bad Blood, the root of the problem is Ray Dudgeon.  He just isn’t very likable.  Perhaps Sean Chercover’s goal is to write about a “realistic” private eye, but a former newspaper reporter turned PI?  He just doesn’t work for me.  He’s boring and too much of a weakling.

Chercover’s writing is also nothing special.  There were a few scenes when Ray discusses his job with his ex-girlfriend and when Ray chums around with his newspaper buddy that are meaningful and well written.  But on the whole, Ray has too many acquaintances, and it’s tough to keep up with all of them. The final nail in the coffin was the way Chercover has Ray “solving” the mystery.  For most of the book, Ray is looking for computer data, which may contain evidence that a military contract company is flaunting the law.  Written in the first person, the reader is in Ray’s head.  We know what he’s thinking.  And then, when he’s under a deadline to find the information, he suddenly knows where the CD-Roms are located, and he doesn’t tell the reader his reasoning.  He just knows that they’re there.  Totally Lame!

Chercover is no way near the quality of Robert Crais, Dennis Lehane, or Michael Koryta.

Speaking of Dennis Lehane…

For the last couple of years, I’ve been keeping the only Patrick Kenzie/Angie Gennaro mystery that I haven’t read on my bookshelf.  Why?  I don’t want the series to be over.  Now, with the news of a brand new mystery featuring Kenzie and Gennaro, Moonlight Mile, I felt comfortable reading Sacred.  Even though Dennis Lehane admits that Sacred isn’t his best mystery and that it doesn’t have much of a plot, it’s still better than what most authors can muster.

Patrick and Angie are hired to find a tycoon’s daughter.  Nothing is as it seems; black is white and up is down. Their travels take them to Florida, where they meet one danger after another. Patrick Kenzie is witty and always entertaining.  He’s thoughtful and concerned about the morally right thing to do.  Lehane also gives readers insight into Patrick’s past and how he became a private investigator.  Trained by Boston’s playboy detective, Jay Becker, Patrick learns from the best and how to play it smart.

I also love how Patrick and Angie play it dirty. They have no problem breaking into a business or roughing someone up for information.  I guess that’s what is really wrong with Chercover: his books claim to be hard-boiled, but compared to Dennis Lehane’s work, they’re just soft.

Moonlight Mile will be released in the U.S. on November 2, 2010 and in Europe on February 3, 2011.

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