Get ready for a slew of book reviews. I read five books on my vacation to New Zealand, and just finished one more. As with a bunch of other stuff about that trip, I'm behind. The first book to be reviewed is Rat City. I already read the second book in this series, Sayonaraville a few months ago. I picked up the book at the Northwest Bookfest on October, along with Gun Monkeys.
Rat City introduces the pair of Jake Rossiter and his soon to be junior partner Ms. Jenkins. Jake Rossiter starts the story by turning the tables on a killer who bursts into his office. The rest of the book deals with his investigation to find out why the criminal wanted to kill him. The second investigation that intertwines is one where he is searching for the lost son of a local black man. As in Sayonaraville Colbert has both mysteries tied togetheer through something approximately coincidence. I don't like the plot device, and the story itself isn't horribly original. But as bubblegum mysteries go, it's a fun read. Colbert tries to use language as if it came from an old Bogart detective movie. He paces the story fast enough that I didn't get bored, even if I could guess what the characters would do next. The other fun thing is that the book is set in post-war Seattle. Unlike other writers who set stories in Seattle as if they know something the reader doesn't, or who throw in Seattle's landmarks and feel the need to explain the geography to non-locals, Colbert makes Seattle a fun place to be. He doesn't describe the geography so much as he does landmarks and neighborhoods. It's not written in the I've-got-a-secret-and-it's-Seattle way I've seen done too often.
Anyway, good bubblegum, semi-noirish mystery. Just don't expect a great mystery.