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January 17th, 2004 - King Rat — LiveJournal
Private Life

[Gun Monkeys cover]Still catching up writing about the books I've recently read. This one I finished back in November when I was on my trip to New Zealand. Despite all the traveling and sightseeing, I managed to get five books read. This was the second book published by Uglytown that I read on the trip. That's now three books, and I am quite the fan. Their goal is to publish noir-type mysteries. I need to pick up a few more of their offerings.

Gun Monkeys is about Charlie Swift. He's a mob enforcer in Orlando. He's fiercely loyal to the local mob boss for whom he works. When a rival mob boss from Miami starts a gang war, Charlie's a target. He could just disappear, but he won't until he's checked with his boss, currently in hiding. And Charlie doesn't know where he is.

Mostly this tale is just a lot of figuring out who's side who is on. FBI, local cops, local mob, Miami mob, and rogue FBI agents. All more or less against each other. Nothing great and meaningful. The characters aren't particularly developed, but they aren't one dimensional either. Everything is seen from the eyes of Charlie Swift, so the reader doesn't get to know anything. The lack of a narrator really makes the mystery work. Some first person mysteries have pretty smart protagonists. Charlie isn't the smartest. He pieces things together reasonably well. ANd you don't ever get the sense that the story is going to have a huge number of coincidences revealed near the end to tie things together. In fact, some pieces seem to be purposefully left dangling. Not for a sequel, but occasionally people leave and return to the narrative without explanation for how they came back. It's not that they show up unreasonably. But unless they relate their experiences, you don't get to find out what they were up to.

Definitely on my recommended list for a decent pot-boiler.

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