Saturday, May 24, 2014

Review: SILENT CITY by Alex Segura

Here at Craig's Book-ends, it should be clear what type of books I enjoy. I love crime fiction. I love noir. I love pulp. I love dark books with complex characters who find themselves in over their heads, either by their own design or someone else's. Recently, I had the opportunity to read a book that is precisely the sort of thing I love. The book: SILENT CITY. The author: Alex Segura. 

SILENT CITY is set in Miami, though it's not the Miami you're likely to see on television or in travel brochures. Segura's Miami is a dark, seedy place. It is as fully a character in SILENT CITY as anything or anyone else.  It is the sort of place that a noir happens, full of broken people and broken dreams. 

Enter Pete Fernandez, our main character. Pete's an alcoholic who works for a newspaper and he's just about hit the bottom of the barrel. A chance conversation with a friend transforms him into a kind of private investigator on the trail of a missing girl. Aren't they always on the trail of a missing girl? Segura hits all the beats of the hardboiled crime novel but what results is not formulaic. Rather, SILENT CITY is carefully composed to recall these old tropes even as Segura offers you something fresh. The result is you see Fernandez slipping down the rabbit hole as he searches for the truth. 

This is not to say that SILENT CITY isn't fun. It certainly is. It's fun and fast, like all my favorite novels. Segura does not mince words. I blasted through this one in just a couple sittings. Plainly put, I loved the hell out of this book. 

The characters are three-dimensional and feel real. Fernandez is one of the better protagonists I have encountered in a while. Segura is going on my shelf next to Mike Monson as someone I will blind buy in the future. 

Go buy this one and soon. There is more that I could say about it but I won't because I need to pester Segura into releasing more fiction starring Pete Fernandez. Please, Mr. Segura?

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