Monday, May 03, 2010

The Third Rail

I am just back from Chicago, what a town that is! I am sure the winters are brutal, but in the nice weather, it is really something. The incredible architecture, cool neighborhoods, great food add up to a lot of fun. Being large of course, and with its reputation for shady politics it is also a great setting for a crime novel. Chicago's Michael Harvey's the Third Rail is his third book featuring Michael Kelly. The character may be a little too familiar (Irish, cop turned PI, problems with authority,) but the story isn't. It starts with random killings on the L trains and builds into a broader plot involving revenge, those nasty city politics and the lingering effects of a train crash.

This one is bleaker and nastier than the average crime novel. It feels like the mid period Lehanes in the level of violence and cruelty on the part of the bad guys. This is not a cozy crime novel by any means. It also pulls in quite a bit of the serial killer and thriller genres into crime picture.

The plot is fairly complicated and it can be a bit hard to follow, especially as Harvey intends the protagonists to be at a loss for the beginning of the book. Still, it is good to see new writers developing and taking the stories out of LA and New York.

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