Monday, November 20, 2006

The Cleanup -- Sean Doolittle

This novel had is genesis in a short story that appeared in the late lamented Plots with Guns. You can read the story here if you want to. Most of it is included in the book, but the story is instructive in at least one way. Some writers would be happy with the ending. They'd say, "That's clever." Then they'd move on. A writer like Doolittle would ask himself, "Okay, so what happens next?" The answer to that question is The Cleanup.

Matty Worth is a cop. He comes from a long line of cops. His brother's a dead hero cop. Worth himself is a screw-up, busted down to doing what amounts to security work at a supermarket. A young woman, a checker at the market, gets in serious trouble (read the story). Matty decides to help. Screw-ups shouldn't help. They only make things worse, and before this novel's over, a number of people are dead, while others are seriously hurt. It's mostly Matty's fault.

If you're thinking that Matty redeems himself and comes shining through, well, you'll have to read the book to find out because I'm not telling. I'll just say this is a hardboiled crime novel that's darker than you might think it's going to be. A while back I reviewed Burn. It was done well, and so is this one. There's a sure hand at work here, and Doolittle's a writer I'm certain is going to be around for a while. You'd better check out his work now so you can get in on a good thing before he gets too far ahead of you.


Graham said...

Actually RAIN DOGS came in between BURN and this one. Just sayin'.

Bill said...

Dang. I'm the one who's behind already. I'll have to fix that in the post and in my reading.