Thursday, December 30, 2010

Pike -- Benjamin Whitmer

Pike's a guy you shouldn't mess around with, mountain mean and tough. Rory, a bar boxer, is his best and only real friend. One day a woman shows up with Pike's granddaughter, Wendy, and hands her over to Pike. Pike's daughter, she says, has died of an overdose in Cincinnati. Pike reluctantly takes on the guardianship of his daughter, but before he can settle into any kind of life with her, he has a need to find out if his daughter's death was really an accident or if it was accidental.

The search for answers sets Pike on a collision course with Derrick Kreiger, a seriously bent cop, who's more of a vigilante than a cop, a wild man who's convinced that he's in the right no matter who he kills or beats to a pulp. Not that Pike is much better. It's hard to work up a lot of sympathy for either. Wendy and Rory are as close to innocence as we come, and they're no angels.

Pike's journey takes him into some hellish parts of the city, and some of the people he meets are even less savory than Kreiger. This isn't a pretty book, and there are no pretty scenes. It's violent and brutal, just like the people in it. Don't come to the book looking for uplift and you'll be rewarded. The prose is clean, and the writer's vision is clear and unsparing. Check it out.

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