Thursday, September 20, 2001

Title: Shooting At Midnight
Author: Greg Rucka
Publisher: Bantam

As far as I can gather this is the fourth novel by Greg Rucka, a writer I am more familiar with from his comics work. Which is probably why I found this in a comics shop. It seems his previous novels have dealt with a character called Atticus Kodiak, though with this piece he has decided to spin off. Bridgett Logan we learn is a private investigator and an ex-junkie, along with which she is the estranged lover of the afore mentioned Kodiak. The book is split into three sections, the first and last being from Logan's perspective. Through the first section Kodiak is a message, a phone conversation, a background character that isn't met. In the second section he takes over the narration and that carries into the third where Logan comes to the fore once more and the two characters are reconciled.

One morning Bridget receives a phone call from Lisa, a fellow ex-junkie she hasn't heard from in years. Both have put their old lives behind them, never becoming a cop as she had originally planned, Bridget has become a private investigator and none of her new friends know about her past. But Lisa and Bridget were close in rehab, giving them ties regardless of the gap years. In that time Lisa hasn't done quite as well, struggling as a single mother to get through college, while dancing in a peep club to pay her way. Unfortunately Lisa's old dealer has found her and as far as he is concerned she owes him big time. Word on the street is he is in with the big boys and having survived on the street for so long it's clear he is a bad bastard. Lisa feels the only to be free of him is to kill him, she wants Bridget's help. As much as Bridget wants to help she doesn't feel murder is the answer. But they set the dealer up, beat the shit out of him and dump him bloody and broken on the street - sorted! They guy is in trouble anyway and has been looking for an easy solution, this beating makes it clear that this isn't it.

Life goes back to normal, until the police turn up on Bridget's door step looking for Lisa who is wanted for the dealer's murder. This sets everything in a spin - why is the dealer dead, how did the police track Lisa to it. As witnesses add to the case it looks like Lisa's case is worsening, especially as it increasingly looks like she actually did do it. Bridget gets involved as an investigator and friend, getting deeper into a drug culture that she is daily trying to avoid.

Rucka tells his story well, working the characters in to the overall structure and supplying details about them as we go. With this the characters take on dimensions and their actions make some sense within the context of the book. Along with that you also get the impression of history and of a scope that goes out with the restrictions of this story - helping to provide the impression that these people existed before and will continue to lead their lives after. I guess that this falls into the category of crime novel, and is certainly the most straight forward of the genre I've read to date. Given that most of the stuff I've read that might be considered crime is more likely to be considered to be from another genre first.

September 2001

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