Monday, May 09, 2011

30. Curtains for the Copper by Thomas Polsky

I feel like The Lantzvillager gave me this book, but I can't rightly remember as it has been sitting on my on-deck shelf for the longest time. A combination of concern over the physical state of the book and a lack of anything particularly compelling in the mystery kept me putting it off until now.

It's a light, slightly implausible, story-heavy but kind of entertaining urban mystery set in a nameless town somewhere on the east coast. The protagonist is a sort of hero reporter who seems to have extremely high status such that he can order chiefs of police around (this is the unrealistic part) named Grid. A young, promising police officer on the beat is shot in a doorway in Night Town, the bad part of town. The murder is made to look like a suicide, but Grid knows different and starts to nose around, unravelling a complex situation involving graft, kidnapping, drug pushing and a pretty large cast of characters.

I'll say this, that while I felt the book went on a bit too long and took too many twists and turns, the mystery itself was rather well thought out and made logical sense within the world of the book, such that you the reader were challenged but actually had a decent shot at figuring most of it out. So I did respect the work that went into the book at the end. On the other hand, I also learned that despite my love of narrative, even for me there can be too much story. Things keep happening in this book but after a certain point, I just wanted it to be over. I didn't care all that much about the characters and though the setting was kind of neat, more things happening meant me waiting longer to find out what really happened.

It's a neat looking book with a beautiful illustrated cover. The icons in the background are continued on the inside first page, which makes for a nice touch. It also is one of those books that came with a map, which while not really necessary for solving the murder really helped me to understand the geography of Night Town, where most of the book takes place. More maps in books please! I've scanned those pages in if you are interested.

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