Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bitter Water Blues -- Patrick Shawn Bagley

Bitter Water Blues is Patrick Shawn Bagley's first novel, and it's a good one.  The basic situation's a familiar one: a cold-blooded hit man decides it's time for him to get out of the killing racket, and he does.  But of course it's never that easy.  Just when you think you're out, they pull you back in.  But while the situation's familiar, several things make Bagley's book stand out.  The writing is topnotch, the setting is different, and the characters are all engaging.  

The setting, for the most part, is a small town in Maine.  You don't see a lot of hit man books set in small towns, and Bagley does the local color very well, indeed.  Joey, the hit man, is a more complicated character than it might first appear, and the cops in the small town, particularly one named Wanda, have depths you might not be expecting.   The plot involves a McGuffin and has a nice twist or two, but it's really the characters that matter here, the characters and what happens to them.  I don't want to say too much about that, other than that the book has a touch of noir.  That being said, the ending isn't entirely dark.  Check this one out.  You can thank me later.

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