Ex-private eye C.W. Sughrue has been depressed, jobless and living in the basement of a morgue, but now a job has come up. He sets off on an odyssey of liquor, sex and gunplay to find a missing woman who has eluded the FBI and cocaine dealers.
C.W. Sughrue from The Last Good Kiss is back, and hasn't really changed. That's part of the problem with PI and detective novels. In most novels, the lead character is expected to change-- it's one of those things they teach you in writing workshops. In fact, the Star Trek folks have managed to pin it down to two words: character arc. While it is horribly abused in Star Trek (it would probably make a great drinking game--first, identify the character who will "change" before the end of the episode, and then identify the "change." I put change in quotes, because in Star Trek the arc is only good for one episode--by the time the next episode comes around, the character seems to have forgotten their life changing episode. [Okay, I'm not being fair, there are exceptions.]), it is a "formula" that much great fiction follows--except the mystery genre (oh, all right, I'm pontificating. I know SF and romance has a tradition of not following it either, but I'm working a different argument at the moment.). I admire the work of Rex Stout, but it isn't character growth that brings me back. Nero and Archie are roughly the same in a book that Stout wrote in the 50s as they are in the 70s. Just as in some SF, where the readers return time and again to the same "world" (say, McCaffrey's Pern), readers return to the characters of Holmes, Miss Marple, and Perry Mason.Read more ›