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Big City, Bad Blood (Ray Dudgeon #1)

3.78  ·  Rating Details ·  873 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews

Disillusioned newspaper reporter-turned-private detective Ray Dudgeon doesn't want to save the world; he just wants to do an honest job well. But when doing an honest job threatens society's most powerful and corrupt, Ray's odds of survival make for a sucker's bet . . .

A simple bodyguard job for a Hollywood locations manager uncovers a rats' nest of sexual blackmail,

Published August 9th 2009 by Audible, Inc. (first published January 1st 2007)
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Dec 31, 2010 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent addition to the private eye genre. Smart, thoughtful, and well paced, the book embraces the necessary genre elements without dropping into too much convention.

One of the biggest obstacles that all private eye (and police) novels must overcome is the fact that in most stories, the reason the hero is involved in the case is due to money. A private eye is hired to do a job. A policeman is paid to do their job. So either through character or action, the author has to bring the story to the
Mar 23, 2007 jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: yes
Real P.I. novel with a bit of humour. Ray, the main character has massive failings as a human being but he still wants to save the world. He takes you into places and situations that are uncomfortable but then gets you back out of them in creative ways. Youc an't help but like him. A very fast paced read. You have to keep those pages turning
Apr 13, 2008 J.D. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery/thriller/p.i. fans
It's hard to keep the P.I. genre fresh. Sean Chercover does it and does it brilliantly. He brings his Chicago investigator Ray Dudgeon to life with a deft, understated style. Can't wait for the next one.
Jul 07, 2008 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a great book. I had heard a lot about the book and bought it but didn't get around to reading it until I received Trigger City for review. I wanted to read Big City Bad Blood first and I'm glad I did and was equally glad I had Trigger City to begin next.

Pat R.
This is Sean Chercover's debut novel about a private investigator, Ray Dudgeon. Ray takes on a case to protect a Hollywood locations manager from a mobster he has to testify against in court.

I'm hoping Chercover gets better with practice? There's potential in this book, but overall, I wasn't that impressed. The main reason being I didn't like Ray Dudgeon. His view of violence and his egocentricity are just unbecoming a protagonist in this setting.

Ironically, I LOVED the supporting cast: Gravedi
Larry H
Here's a tip from me to you: if you love books with private investigators, a good amount of action, some twists and turns and great character development, go out and get yourself a copy of Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover. This is a great book in one of the genres I love, and I'm excited to have found a relatively new author with some great storytelling skills.

Ray Dudgeon is a former journalist who left the newspaper world after realizing he couldn't really solve the problems of the world,
BIG CITY BAD BLOOD (PI, Ray Dudgeon, Chicago, Cont) –G+
Chercover, Sean – 1st book
William Morrow, 2007, US Hardcover – ISBN:9780061128677

First Sentence: In the shadows of the John F. Kennedy Expressway, surrounded by warehouses, factories and auto-body shops, stands Villa d’Este, a family-run restaurant that serves generous portions of decidedly untrendy Italian-American food at reasonable prices.

Ray Dudgeon is a former newspaperman turned PI. Bob Loniski is a movie location’s manager who saw som
Sep 19, 2014 Hallie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook-purchased
Again, lots of weird similarities to Lehane's books (including a romantic involvement with an ER nurse, who - well, spoilers, but yeah, insert book 2 and Grace), but this one was less winning on every count for me. Also, the 'hero' was annoying, with his "Ha! Journalism is corrupt and *I* shall never lower myself to it again", while, uh, working kinda sorta for the Mob? And then he did something exceedingly grey, morally speaking, and was still dismissive of some of the Feds/police for their sli ...more
Sep 02, 2014 Chip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
4.5 stars, and impressive as all heck for a debut novel - this is up there with any other writer in the PI/thriller genre. Real characters, with depth, and a believable (and fast) plot. Bought this as a $0.99 special and after finishing it immediately went out and bought the sequel and another by the same author.
Apr 07, 2008 Jodi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes a good mystery and likes detective stories
Recommended to Jodi by: Met the author at a signing
This is a first book by Sean Chercover. The main character is a conflicted Chicago PI named Ray Dudgeon. It is very well written with lots of action. Dudgeon does some things that aren't exactly kosher. He takes on the mob in Chicago in an effort to protect a client. Great Chicago scenery. Well worth reading!
Jul 13, 2008 Mary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
great example of the tough-guy PI genre, hard-boiled detective confronts the mob in present day Chicago.
Gritty P.I. Ray Dungeon finds Chicago too small for him and the 'outfit.' He takes a job as bodyguard for a mid-level LA production manager who has been threatened with death by the 'outfit' for seeing a hit and seeing a top City Official in the car. Dungeon lives in his head a lot so he is always talking to himself about issues, did it really happen, will Jill answer his calls. It is a very well written story about an investigator with morals. He has friends on the CPD (Chicago Police Departmen ...more
A. Bowdoin Van Riper
Tough-guy detective stories have always been a hit-and-miss proposition for me. I tend to either love them or be left totally cold by them, and – much as I wish I could – I’ve never been able to predict, in advance, which ones are going to fall into which category. Every new author or series is an experiment: a complete shot in the dark. It’s led me to some very pleasant surprises—Lee Child’s Killing Floor, Don Winslow’s California Fire and Life—but left a trail of unfinished “meh” books I could ...more
Cathy Ryan
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
I started this book two months ago when my book club read it, but wasn’t able to attend the meeting and so put it down after 40 pages or so. Something about the book didn’t work for me. Never one to give up easily on a book, I picked it back up this week and found it to be much more interesting.

Big City Bad Blood follows the adventures of awesomely named Ray Dudgeon, a hard hitting Chicago P.I. with a cranky streak that reminds me a lot of Chandler or Hammett characters. He’s grouchy. He’s hired
Cathy Ryan
3.5 stars

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 Bob engages the services of PI Ray Dudgeon as his body guard.

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 (cliche, I know, but it fits) with a sensitive side. I like the way his back story is revealed
Generally, pulp fiction stories focused on man struggling with dark, powerful and often, evil forces. This debut offering from Sean Chercover is pulp fiction with a capital “P”. His P.I., Ray Dudgeon is an unapologetic yet somewhat sympathetic character caught up in a scenario that takes him from the streets of Chicago to the phony backslapping glitz of Hollywood. The narrative is descriptive and the books themes are universal in nature; no one and nothing is what they/it seem to be, greed and s ...more
Brenda Mengeling
Jul 20, 2012 Brenda Mengeling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, fiction, ebook, 48
If you like classic noir, then Big City, Bad Blood is a book you should read. I am a huge fan of both Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlow mysteries and Ross MacDonald's Lew Archer books. Sean Chercover follows in their footsteps in this gritty noir novel that takes place in modern day Chicago.

Ray Dudgeon, a private investigator, is hired to protect a location manager from Hollywood who has opened up a can of worms with the Chicago Outfit. He rented a warehouse location for a big movie shoot from Fr
Oct 24, 2008 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some more Windy City noir. With a little tweaking, this one might have made it to five stars. Overall, I enjoyed it but thought the ending got wrapped up a little too quickly and neatly. Too many things are resolved out of the reader's sight.

That said, it was a very good book, the debut for its author Sean Chercover. His protagonist Ray Dudgeon is a typical noir character-cynical, jaded, with a disappointed sense of idealism. He started as a journalist, but hated the moral compromises he was fo
Naga Di Kandang
"Big City, Bad Blood" felt to me as though it had about three different authors. The first half, I found a kind of uninspired Raymond Chandler pastiche/update. The story was about Philip Marlowe in 2009 with the serial numbers filed off (though he could still find payphones). Chercover went out of his way to add the trappings of the 1940s PI novel, rationalizing them still existing in the 21st century. I thought it was barely good enough for me to want to finish the book. Don't get me wrong, I a ...more
Kathleen Hagen
Big City, Bad Blood, by Sean Chercover, B. Narrated by Joe Barrett, produced by, and downloaded from

I realized, when I started this book, that it comes before “Trigger City” which I actually read first. I liked “Trigger City” much better. In this book we meet Ray Dudgeon, who became disillusioned as a news reporter and resigned to become a private eye. He is hired as a bodyguard for a man on a movie location in California, and he becomes involved in a Chicago mafia war between two f
Nov 28, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series-thriller, 2012
Welcome to Chicago, Illinois. Ray Dudgeon is a former newspaper reporter and now a private detective. He's been assigned to protect Bob Loniski from the Mob, before he goes to trial. Not an easy job for Ray. While he's on protection duty, we're introduced to him and his relationship with his girlfriend, Jill, his friend Terry, and his assorted associates. We watch him interact and get out of sticky situations. Here's an interesting guy with a shaded past history. There's plenty of non-stop actio ...more
Jennifer A.M.
Jan 01, 2008 Jennifer A.M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who like thrillers/mob stories
Recommended to Jennifer by: Helen Plum Library
This book is what I have been referring to as the "Rich Man's James Patterson" Don't get me wrong, I love J. Patterson and I read every book of his that comes out. They are fast paced and exciting, but........many of the characters are not fleshed out. Sean Chercover writes in the same fast paced way, but his characters are meatier. You really get to know the main character, Ray, and you get to understand what he is about. The book is definately a murder mystery/ thriller, though more thriller t ...more
Jan 03, 2017 Jennifer rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ray Dudgeon used to be a newspaper reporter but left the field when he wasn't allowed to print the truth. Now he works as a private investigator. He is hired to be a bodyguard for a Hollywood guy who saw something he shouldn't have and now his life is in danger. No one takes the threat too seriously until his car explodes from a bomb. As Ray digs into what the man saw, he discovers a stash of blackmail files involving cops and Washington politicians. Ray must choose between doing what is right a ...more
Apr 18, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty solid, effortlessly readable debut for Chercover, and pretty much exactly what I'm looking for in a Chicago PI book. I appreciated that Ray Dudgeon wasn't beyond putting his own self-interest above virtue at times, a trait which gave the character a good dose of mystery. Chercover also fills the novel with plenty of noir-ish detective prattle, without being obnoxious like some writers (Michael Harvey comes to mind). My only gripe was that we didn't really see much of the bad guys, who e ...more
Dec 26, 2014 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great read

I discovered Sean Chercover when I read The Trinity Game. That book was a real page turner. I wanted more. So I got Big City, Bad Blood. This is Checover's debut novel. But it reads like the work of a seasoned author. The characters are believable, the story is fast paced, the action is exiting. Now it's time to move on to the follow up to this book, and look forward to Sean's new book this summer. Chercover joins the ranks of Earle Stanley Gardner, Rex Stout, and Elmore Leonard, as
Beth Shadur
Feb 09, 2014 Beth Shadur rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not usually one to read a detective book, or a mystery. But this book, which had appealed to me because it takes place in Chicago, my home town, really was a very readable page turner. I enjoyed the main character, Ray, who is a detective going up against the Mob. He was a rich character, with a sarcastic wit, and Chercover made him seem like a real person, well fleshed out. All the characters were developed nicely. The plot moved the book along quickly, and I did want to know what would ha ...more
Jun 03, 2010 Stef rated it really liked it
Solid debut novel, capably narrated by Joe Barrett. Chercover captures the noir genre and updates it for the 21st century by leaving behind the distracting sexism, racism, and homophobia of some of the original noir writers. Don't worry, you still get a full dose of weapons, skulduggery, stakeouts, conspiracies, violence, and torture. Most of the characters are well drawn and have realistic relationships with each other. Chercover's P.I. is based in Chicago and occasionally recommends his favori ...more
John Sheridan
Dec 22, 2011 John Sheridan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
Went back and retrieved this from my to be read pile after actually reading the second book in the series. As a character I quite like Chercover's PI Ray Dudgeon and the sense of humour portrayed well in the book. It actually introduces the character well and gives just enough of his back story to explain some of his actions though I would say the apparent ease with which he is able to gain access to senators and judges does seem unlikely and their subsequent intervention on his behalf is crucia ...more
Mar 27, 2011 Ron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime_fiction
Extraordinary debut novel! Ray Durgeon is a familiar yet original private eye with all the requisite baggage, wit, and excesses such characters are heir to. Chercover's strong voice, vivid characters, gritty, authentic Chicago backdrop and can't-put-it-down plot will be sure to earn this one a spot on the award ballots. First novels are usually a bit wobbly, but there is no evidence of training wheels on this one. It'll fit nicely on the darker side of your shelf next to Raymond Chandler, Lawren ...more
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Sean Chercover is the author of the bestselling thrillers The Trinity Game and The Devil’s Game and two award-winning novels featuring Chicago private investigator Ray Dudgeon: Big City Bad Blood and Trigger City. After living in Chicago, New Orleans, and Columbia, South Carolina, Sean returned to his native Toronto, where he lives with his wife and son.

Sean’s fiction has earned top mystery and th
More about Sean Chercover...

Other Books in the Series

Ray Dudgeon (2 books)
  • Trigger City (Ray Dudgeon, #2)

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