Monday, October 17, 2011

PIKE: Outstanding noir novel

by Benjamin Whitmer
ISBN: 978-1-60486-089-4 2010
2010 Trade Paper release
from PM Press.

This crime-ridden novel will not be to everyone’s taste. It is gritty, dirty, foul-mouthed and foul-intentioned on the part of the principal characters. It is a wonderfully written novel. If your tastes in crime fiction run to the dark side; if you yearn to explore the minds and the actions of those who inhabit the dangerous underside of urban life, you should read this novel.

Douglas Pike, rising out of a criminous youthful raging life has become an oddity. He’s reigned in some of his worst impulses and tries to live out his days scraping things together with a young friend who has aspirations to be a professional boxer. Pike has done many things in his life, including functioning as an adept private investigator. Now with nothing momentous on his horizon, he sifts through life. And into that life falls his granddaughter, Wendy. Wendy is the result of a twelve-years-ago liaison between Pike’s estranged daughter, Sarah, and some guy. Wendy has intelligence to spare, loads of attitude, and a vocabulary guaranteed to cause multiple double-takes.

Because Pike suddenly feels unfamiliar familial vibrations, however faint, he sets out to find out about his family and in the process create a welcoming environment for his grand-daughter. His odyssey takes him deep into the grimy streets, bordellos, crack-houses and assorted environs of the worst that Cincinnati has to offer.

This is one powerful, novel of soaring descriptive language, poetical vibrant driving action; a novel to shudder at, to wince over and to remember, long after its surprising and satisfying conclusion. It is well-plotted, finely paced and filled with descriptions of wonderful and awful things.

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