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START SHOOTING


By Charlie Newton

Doubleday, January 2012 ($25.95)

ISBN-13: 978-0-385-53469-7
Kindle eBook: ($12.99)

Reviewed by Sam Waas

Chicago machine politics is a thing unto itself, an entity of special creation. In other cities, it would have fallen apart of its own inertia, like the Pendergast era in Kansas City. Yet in Chicago, it thrives still.

START SHOOTING is a first rate police procedural that depicts the current sprawl of Chicago insider politics, corruption, and layers of power that are commonplace throughout the city.

A campaign to secure the next Olympics is dominating the Chicago scene, and everyone's working to make it happen. Government and commerce are pushing hard and nothing will be allowed to interfere. The pressure is on, and even routine police matters are subservient to the cause.

Two brothers, both Chicago cops, are drawn into the morass, and asked, no, ordered to forego their sworn duties if necessary. A young woman is also caught up in the turmoil, her life in peril for simply being at the wrong place at the wrong time. The story line intertwines around these three as the hunger for advertising and promotional funds that the Olympics would bring the city drives even ordinary people to look the other way when it's convenient.

START SHOOTING is a tough, rough, and streetwise novel, gritty as the machine politics that powers Chicago yet superbly well written, with flair and style. The plot is relentless, the narrative and dialogue taut and focused. Some readers may find the circumstantial plotlines a bit contrived, slightly over the top, but these do drive the story and provide exceptional energy.

If you're looking for a modern, hard-bitten police procedural, this is your book.

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