It’s February 2003 and private detective Glenn Wozniak just wants to ride out the remainder of a cold Chicago winter perched on a bar stool, pairing shots of Irish whiskey with cheap beer. But when a client neglects to pay him for services rendered, Glenn finds himself desperate for work, any work. Enter a wealthy new client offering a lot of money to find his missing daughter. On the eve of the U.S. war in Iraq, Glenn begins an investigation that will take him from the far northern edge of Chicago to an industrial wasteland at its southern border to some of the most dangerous parts of the city’s west side. Along the way, he’ll encounter anti-war protesters, ex cons, drug dealers, corrupt cops, and a gang member leading a double life, ultimately unearthing secrets that could make him some dangerous enemies and possibly cost him his life.
A new to me author with Todd Luchik’s debut novel Forgotten Boy.
I’ll be honest, I kind of struggled with reading this one, not because it wasn’t good – it was and not because I didn’t enjoy it – I did. Mainly I think because of its length – 388 pages and the format I was reading in – Kindle. I think I have problems reading books over 250 pages digitally – they just seem to read slower for me. I don’t know why that is, but hey I’m strange.
Back to the book. Glenn Wozniak – ex cop and a somewhat lazy PI seems more interested in getting stuck into the booze than he is in working for a living. Cliched PI? Not really, I liked him warts and all. On the surface, he’s not overly sympathetic. He’s single – unsurprisingly; overweight, seems to have trouble attending to personal hygiene and seems to have work ethic issues and a problem with authority. During the course of our tale and despite these flaws, he still manages to get lucky with the ladies a few times. Do Chicago gal’s set the bar lower?
Getting to know him through the course of the book, by the end I had a new found respect for him. He’s honest and when he puts his mind to tenacious and dogged. His refusal to be told to back off and be dismissed by his rich client when there were still secrets to be uncovered was admirable. The case was solved, or at least resolved to the satisfaction of Edgar Marsh, particularly when further digging might lead to the family name being besmirched. Wozniak – grows a pair and pushes on.
Initially a missing person case, we evolve into a murder. Along the way we encounter……….booze, bars, a rich client, a missing arty daughter, a troubled cop who has also disappeared, bent cops including a chief who has made an arrangement with the local criminal king-pin to limit the impact of the drug’s trade on his community, by allowing his gang free-reign in a designated area, a troubled family with a dark past, a difficult marriage, sexual abuse, an unhealthy fraternal relationship, an anti-War group under infiltration from the police, corruption, arson, death and eventually answers but no happy endings.
Great setting - Chicago, a main character with issues, an interesting period in recent US history – the eve of the Iraq War. A lot to like.
4.5 from 5
The author Todd Luchnik was kind enough to forward me a copy of this for review.
There’s a shorter story – 50-odd pages long involving our main man also available on Amazon and possibly for free on his website – Friday Night, Saturday Morning.