Jim's Reviews > Big City, Bad Blood

Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
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's review
Oct 24, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: chicago, police-and-thieves, fiction
Read in October, 2008

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 forced to make. Ironically, as a detective, moral relativism has become a way of life.

More than a few Goodreads reviewers have expressed a dislike for the author's approach to violence. His protagonist's attitude toward the use of force is very matter of fact. His business forces him to deal with violent men, so occassionally he must be violent in turn. He carries a gun in the same way that a carpenter carries a hammer. For Dudgeon, non-violence is just an alternate word for suicide.

Chercover's approach to moral questions is very much like Chekhov's, who felt that moral judgement was something for the reader to deal with. It was enough for the writer to portray the world with a sense of honesty.

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