Saturday, 9 September 2017
DANA KING - WORST ENEMIES (2012)
Penns River rarely sees two homicides in a year. Two in little over a week is almost too much for the police force to handle. The assigned detectives — Ben Dougherty, a former MP and Penns River native, and retired Pittsburgh cop Willie Grabek — find links to bind the two cases, but their investigation is complicated by the involvement of private investigator Daniel Rollison, a retired spy on a suspect's payroll who is really working for himself.
Pittsburgh mob boss Mike Mannarino also lives in Penns River and has more than a passing interest in the case. The two cops' savvy competes with the limitations of their small town's resources and the interference of Rollison and Mannarino in a story that shows identifying a killer and proving it are separate things.
Possibly the best book I've read this year. Over 300 pages long and as soon as I was done, I was tempted to flick to the front and start again.
There's a fictional small town setting, one that seems incredibly real in King's hands. The plot is a riff on Highsmith's Strangers on a Train and incredibly clever. King produces a devious twist which initially wrong-footed me, then had me speeding up my reading to see what else he had in store for us.
He didn't let me down, great pace and a real cadence to the writing that I loved. Interesting characters - the police detectives, the PI working for the killer, the sexy wife of the killer, the mob boss operating with the tacit consent of the authorities. Each of them with competing motives, all of them at odds with each other.
Great little backstories and sideshows throughout. For example - our main detective's family dinners and love-life, dissected and cajoled along by his lesbian friend. All adding another rich seam to depth of the book and my enjoyment, as opposed to looping you out of the main story.
Action, violence, death, a bit of torture, dialogue, humour, sex - nothing gratuitous - they all had their place. A fantastic tale and a superb ending.
I was a bit sad when I reached the end. It's not very often I don't want a book to finish. Fortunately King has penned a couple more in this series which I have on the pile - Grind Joint and Resurrection Mall
5 from 5
Dana King has a blog here.
Read in August, 2016
Published - 2012
Page count - 371
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle