four-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
38-Jan-Feb-2009
user_rating: 
0
Award Year: 
0

A-Trigger CitySean Chercover, formerly a private investigator in Chicago and New Orleans, introduced newspaper-reporter-turned-PI Ray Dudgeon in the highly acclaimed Big City, Bad Blood (2007). This is the second in the series.

The Story: Private Investigator Ray Dudgeon, assigned a routine investigation into the murder of a retired army colonel’s daughter, at first thinks it’s an open-and-shut case. He soon discovers, however, that the victim and her murderer—an allegedly insane colleague who shot himself after killing her—lived double lives, working for a private company that contracted with the U.S. military. Ray suspects that the woman may have died because she held some deadly secrets—and that her colleague may have been murdered, too. But as he pursues his suspicion, he finds himself way in over his head with a military-industrial conspiracy that puts his own life in danger.
William Morrow. 304 pages. $23.95. ISBN: 0061128694

Chicago Tribune 4.5 of 5 Stars
"[Chercover] seems on his way to becoming the Ross Macdonald of his time, close to rubbing shoulders with Dashiell Hammett in the Crime Writers’ Hall of Fame. … In many ways the book could be the first of a new age of crime fiction." Dick Adler

Chicago Sun-Times 4 of 5 Stars
"Just as most of your best sports commentators have played the game they’re announcing, Chercover provides insights that come only from doing time in the trenches. … Among the many things to like about Trigger City is the way the author is willing to make Dudgeon a multifaceted character." Jeff Johnson

Washington Post 3.5 of 5 Stars
"Besides being highly entertaining, Trigger City argues that America’s military-industrial complex has by now far outstripped Eisenhower’s worst fears. … My main criticism of this fast-moving, suspenseful novel is that Chercover sometimes tries too hard to ratchet up the drama." Patrick Anderson

NY Times Book Review 3 of 5 Stars
"Ray Dudgeon … is a gumshoe with a high regard for the legendary humor of Chicago’s scrappy newsmen, past and present. … For all his diligent efforts on this case, don’t be surprised if his reckless behavior gets him banned from the Wise Guys Corner at the Billy Goat taproom." Marilyn Stasio

Critical Summary

Critics agree that Sean Chercover’s former career as a private investigator serves him well as a crime fiction writer. Compared by the Chicago Tribune’s critic to the greats, Chercover writes well-rounded characters with believable flaws, and his timely, convincing exploration of the military-industrial complex extends this thriller beyond its traditional genre. Only the reviewer from the Washington Post wasn’t too sure about this direction, opining that some readers might see this plot as "left-wing paranoia, while others will think it an all-too-accurate portrayal of how elements of our government operate." But well paced and highly entertaining, Trigger City offers "a serious political message embedded in … stylish prose" (Washington Post). And there’s more to come.