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'46, Chicago ()

Water thoughts: Everything post-war is gravy.
-Gus Carson

We took the kids to a local dollar store to buy our Christmas gifts and I thought I'd head off something really cheesy by grabbing a few books for them to get me. I'd never heard of Steve Monroe but the dust jacket made this one sound at least readable and it proved to be much better than that. The cover blurbs compare him to James Ellroy and that seems apt. The hero of the novel--less anti-heroic than some of Mr. Ellroy's characters--is Chicago cop Gus Carson. As a marine in WWII he was very nearly killed in a ship-sinking reminiscent of that of the USS Indianapolis and saw nearly all the men around him die in horrible ways as they floated in shark-infested waters awaiting rescue. After being orphaned he was raised by a crooked cop and became his protege, but, having survived the war, he's determined to correct at least some of the errors of his ways. So, when he's suspended from the force after a shooting in a whorehouse, he's hired to do some investigating by a wealthy and politically ambitious Republican businessman, who gets a less pliable gumshoe than he'd bargained on.

The combination of a dirty past and a relatively clean present affords Mr. Monroe a protagonist who's plenty tough but easy to root for and he serves up the tale with plenty of bark on. It's a very good modern riff on classic noir.


Grade: (A)


See also:

Private Eyes
Steve Monroe Links:

    -AUTHOR PAGE: Steve Monroe
    -ESSAY: She don't like it like that - motion picture director Darnell Martin's 'I Like It Like That' focuses on character development (Steve Monroe, Oct-Nov 1994, American Visions)
    -ESSAY: Mercy! - gospel singer Andrae Crouch's first sound recording since 1984 (Steve Monroe, August-Sept 1994, American Visions)
    -PROFILE:Mr. Happy Go-Lucky of Chicago (Mike Thomas, Jan 6, 2003, Chicago Sun-Times)
    -ARCHIVES: "steve monroe" (Find Articles)
    -AUDIO INTERVIEW: with Steve Monroe (848, August 20, 2001, Chicago Public Radio
    -REVIEW: of '46, Chicago by Steve Monroe (Henry Kisor, Chicago Sun-Times)
    -REVIEW: of '46, Chicago (J. Kingston Pierce, January Magazine)
    -REVIEW: of '46, Chicago (Stanley Young, Rebel Yell))
    -REVIEW: of
-REVIEW: of `57, Chicago by Steve Monroe (RANDY MICHAEL SIGNOR, Chicago Sun-Times)
    -REVIEW: of '57, Chicago (Tom Beer, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of '57, Chicago (Adrienne Miller, Esquire)
    -REVIEW: of '57, Chicago (Mahinder Kingra, Baltimore City Paper)
    -REVIEW: of '57, Chicago (Jerry Gladman, Ottawa Sun)
    -REVIEW: of '57, Chicago (Diana McKeon Charkalis, USA TODAY)

Book-related and General Links: