Monday, August 31, 2020

Review of Silent City by Alex Segura (2016, Polis Books)

Dumped by his fiancée and his newspaper career on the skids, each day Pete Fernandez drinks himself into a stupor. When a writer for the paper asks him to look into the disappearance of his daughter, a reporter, Pete reluctantly agrees. It pretty quickly becomes clear that something is awry, though the police don’t seem to want to know. The journalist had been investigating a series of underworld murders committed by a mysterious hitman known as The Silent Death and it seems she might have been on the cusp of revealing his identity. He might be a mess, but Pete used to be a bloodhound reporter, and he’s soon ruffling feathers as he tries to track down the missing journalist. And as he digs deeper, he’s drawn into the world of his father, a homicide detective who’s recently died, and the body count of The Silent Death rises.

Silent City is a journalist turned PI tale set in Miami, following the attempt of a drunken, washed up reporter trying to track down a colleague who’d been working on a big story for the crime desk. It’s one of those tales where just about every character, regardless of their role, is already a part of the lead character’s life, the trajectory and mystery of the story is telegraphed from a very long way out, and the tale is driven forward by plot devices. And the characters were a little too typeset and one-dimensional. The result is a derivative crime thriller, told through workman-like prose, which has a decent pace, intrigue and tension, but is wholly unbelievable yet predictable. It passed the time, but sparked little else. 

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