From the publisher: Andy Destra is a mostly honest cop in the most notoriously corrupt and
crime-ridden city in America: Auction City. After discovering explosive information that reveals corruption within the highest levels of the police department, Andy is kicked off the force, framed, and disgraced, left to wage a lonely one-man crusade against conspiracies he can’t prove. Andy’s investigation plunges him into a blackly comic maelstrom of one-armed gang members, slick pickpockets, criminal syndicates, hired mercenaries, escaped convicts, sewer dwellers, and one sinister ice-cream truck. At the same time, he must contend with a mystery closer to home: the true identity of his parents, his most unshakeable obsession. Understanding their past may be the key to Auction City’s future as it teeters on the brink of chaos. If Andy can’t solve this case, the Floodgate will fail . . . and his city will burn.
Lest the reader think this is all too over-the-top, earlier this month there was a headline in the New York Times that read “A Surge of Violence in a City of Gangs,” datelined Pueblo, Colorado, which we are told has the highest per-capita murder rate in Colorado. Not the fictional Auction City, but it might as well be!
The action takes place in 1986, with occasional flashbacks to 1929 (the first of which starts the book off), none of which flashbacks is more than a few pages long, but which very effectively evoke the period of the first stock market crash and a town devastated by its aftermath. The book has been called, among other things, hilarious, relentless, wicked, gritty, sardonic, and earnest; it is all of these things and more. This was my introduction to this author’s work, and it was not quite like anything I’d read before. The 1929-era passages describe what later becomes known as the Flood, when 80% of the town burned, and gives rise to the union of diverse factions which comprise a conglomeration only nominally intended to save the town from itself.
Filled with humor and violence in equal measure, its brilliantly conceived characters include a man named Merlin and a protagonist, Andy, who puts up posters with the photo of the Police Department’s Deputy Commissioner under which appear the words “Wanted: Bad Cop.” The author tells us: “The only thing coplike about him was his love for baked goods, but even then he preferred a croissant to a doughnut. Maybe he had been meant to be a gendarme.” Before he was forced off the Auction City PD he had been a 14-year veteran. “Cop or no cop, Andy Destra never quit.”
This is a fascinating novel, and it is recommended....Continua