Dark City Blue by Luke Preston
Review Category: Luke Preston was the first author to follow me on Twitter, I instantly bought his book to review.
The Blurb: A fistful of people are murdered, fifteen million dollars is stolen and detective Tom Bishop is stuck in the middle. When he hits the street, every clue points in the same direction - his colleagues in a police department demoralised by cutbacks and scandals. Hunted, alone and with no place left to turn, Bishop embarks on a hellish journey down into the gutters where right and wrong quickly become twisted and problems are solved with gunfire and bloodshed.
Over the next two days, Tom Bishop will be cornered. He will be beaten. He will bust into prison. He will shoot at police. He will team up with violent criminals. He will become one of them. He will break every rule in the book, chasing a lead nobody else will go near down a rabbit hole of corruption, murder and buried secrets.
Will Bishop become the very monster he set out to destroy?
A modern hard-boiled tale that unfolds at a relentless pace, Dark City Blue is Serpico, if Serpico snorted a fistful of cocaine and hung out with Lee Marvin.
Preview Available: Amazon Look Inside dealio, also his twitter feed links to the first few pages.
Would I buy this (again)? : Oh yes... yes I would.
The Product: A decent well-formatted e-book. Don't think much of either title or cover because they totally don't do a very good job of conveying the quality of the contents.
The Nitty Gritty: I'd never really considered the possibility of there being a sub-genre called "hard boiled oz noir" before cracking open Dark City Blue. The first thing to note about this is that the Australian patois definitely delivers a unique wrinkle to a powerful, bloody, violent thriller.
Let's be clear about this, there is something joyously adolescent about the violence, the swearing, the cranked up adrenaline-soaked machismo of Dark City Blue. I think the jazzy mood title does little to convey the swaggering minimalist confidence of this assured slice of sardonic action.
The story revolves around your classic hard man super cop Tom Bishop hunting, and being hunted by, a network of corrupt cops in Victoria. The novel wastes no time kicking off with a gun battle, proceeding through an armed robbery, into a balls to the wall action chase where Preston takes every opportunity to beat the crap out of Bishop in a most satisfying manner.
The language is terse and revels in its punchy economy. There's exactly enough story to keep the whole thing barrelling forward, not so much you ever find yourself confused. Dark City Blue is an assured exercise in literary economy. It's the closest thing to a great tits and explosions action movie I've ever read in novel form. The whole thing's a gestalt, no individual element is unusually strong but the whole thing pulls together to make a terrific début novel and I wait with eager anticipation to read the next Tom Bishop novel.