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Chicago Squeeze by J.R. Chase

Chicago Squeeze

by J.R. Chase

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If you are a fan of Robert B Parkers' Spenser, Mike Ripleys' Angel or Robert Crais' Elvis Cole then you might feel like you already know J R Chase's Jack Riley in Chicago Squeeze.An ex-cop who has hung out his own shingle as a private investigator, Riley and his faithful hound are juggling cases involving insurance fraud, domestic discord and suspicious death. None of these investigations are as simple as they seem and Riley finds himself, and those he loves, at risk.Chase has carefully plotted the entanglements in the story, maintaining tension and suspicion until the pieces fall into place. Chase got the pacing just right, particularly through the more active scenes and the story flowed well.There are a few editing errors (such as 'taught' in place of 'taut') and the writing could be tighter in places, but these were only minor irritants and didn't interupt my enjoyment of the story.As the book is written in the first person perspective, it is vital that Riley is engaging and I think Chase has been successful in creating a likeable lead. Jack Riley has an edge of barely controlled violence and straight forward demeanour typical of the detective fiction genre, yet Riley's casual wit and emotional vulnerability ensures he doesn't descend into sterotypical cliche. Riley's secretary, Ginny and Clem the basset hound are the main supporting characters and while each play an important role in showing who Jack is, they are also well intergrated into the plot. I thought Debbie was probably the most interesting with a complex background, and a distinctive attitude. I hope she has a larger role in future installments.There are plenty of suspects in the story and I felt that Chase handled them well, with believable motivations and actions. Chase handled the threads of the story and the connections between the characters well without giving everything away, but still providing enough subtle clues to ensure a satisfactory conclusion.This debut is sure to be enjoyed by mystery and detective fiction fans. Chicago Squeeze is a great read with plenty of action, a touch of violence and humor and appealing characters. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel when it's available. ( )
  shelleyraec | May 9, 2011 |
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