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Spiked: An Eddie Bourque Mystery [Hardcover]

Mark Arsenault
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 1 2003 Eddie Bourque Series
Reporter Eddie Bourque chases stories for the Lowell Empire, a second-class rag in a Massachusetts city of first-generation immigrants and bare-knuckled politicians. The talented and ambitious Eddie has one eye on finding a better job. However, when the dead junkie found floating in a mill canal is identified as his beat partner, he gives the story his full attention. That is, until he finds himself stonewalled by powerbrokers in Lowell law enforcement--and at his own newspaper.
Bent on finding his partner's killer, Eddie disobeys orders and follows a mysterious Cambodian woman into the city's poorest neighborhood--with violent results. Battered, dumped in a canal and left for dead, Eddie survives an encounter with an invisible underworld, only to find himself entangled in an international plot of murder and revenge.
It's do or die for Eddie as he struggles to stay one step ahead of ruthless hitmen, the city's self-serving power elite, and the curious police detective who always shows up when Eddie wishes she wouldn't. The story of a lifetime beckons, but the closer he comes to the truth, the greater the chance that the story-and Eddie will be spiked.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Rhode Island journalist Arsenault, like many writers, can't resist stuffing everything he knows into his first novel, at least until the second half, when the pace picks up and the focus tightens. In the fading manufacturing city of Lowell, Mass., Eddie Bourque, a political reporter for the shoddy Lowell Empire, looks into the brutal murder of his newspaper beat partner and rival, Danny Nowlin. Bourque suspects the killing is tied to a story Nowlin was working on under cover, but the newspaper's owners, high up in Lowell's power structure, discourage Bourque from pursuing his investigation. The author brings Lowell with its slums, empty factories and vying political factions vividly alive. He peoples his novel with quirky, memorable characters: Gabrielle and Leo, two sweet, impoverished heroin addicts; Stan Popko, the Empire's computer whiz and comedian wannabe; Gordon Phife, the talented city editor with whom Bourque hits golf balls off of the newspaper building's roof; and police detective Lucy Orr, a robust, dogged investigator. As Bourque probes Nowlin's secrets, he finds a confusing assortment of violent people with conflicting motives out to get him. A fine writer, Arsenault keeps the tension building right up to the surprise ending. One hopes he's kept some good stuff for his next book.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

The next city council election in Lowell, Massachusetts, will determine whether the depressed burg provides resources to its poorest residents or gentrifies them out of sight. Eddie Bourque, political reporter for a slightly disreputable afternoon paper, is all over the story--until his partner turns up dead, and editors start slanting his coverage toward the prodevelopment faction. Bourque, a gifted reporter awaiting a shot at the Boston market, ably takes on a web of corruption woven by secretive developers, crooked politicians, and maybe even his own publisher. But when the investigation threatens to expose a Cambodian war criminal, Bourque's head might hit the chopping block before his hands find a keyboard. Arsenault has a fine ear for the rhythms of a low-rent paper. He brings it to life with suitably salty characters and wonderful similes--the editor's "hands were plump and soft, like pudding in rubber gloves." Even though Bourque proves inexplicably willing to give away the biggest story of his career, his tale is mostly a front-page treat. Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Eddie Bourque gulped the last of his bitter Arabica, then lifted the empty mug over his head and wagged it at the waitress. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Fast-Paced Sept. 8 2003
Format:Hardcover
Mr. Arsenault brings an enticing blend of memorable characters, witty humor and a well-crafted plot. I thought I had the mystery solved more than once only to find myself lured deeper into the tale as unsuspectd twists in the book kept me guessing as to the killer. An enjoyable mystery that will keep you turning the pages till the surprise ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good plot, fine writing Sept. 5 2003
Format:Hardcover
You won't find many books like this among those from first-time mystery writers. Arsenault's use of language, humor and description is first-rate, as are the tightly interlocking story strands he weaves into a plot. A fun mystery I gobbled up in a single rainy weekend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, funny mystery Aug. 1 2003
Format:Hardcover
How outstanding to find a new author producing characters with depth, intertwined in an intricate plot that's easy to follow. The aging mill city of Lowell, Mass. comes to life here as a character in the story; like the people, the city is complex and nothing is ever as it first seems. Throw in some danger, some laugh-out-loud humor and a hero a reader can get behind, and I was hooked. I look forward to Mr. Arsenault's next book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart, funny mystery July 31 2003
By Herber Willows - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
How outstanding to find a new author producing characters with depth, intertwined in an intricate plot that's easy to follow. The aging mill city of Lowell, Mass. comes to life here as a character in the story; like the people, the city is complex and nothing is ever as it first seems. Throw in some danger, some laugh-out-loud humor and a hero a reader can get behind, and I was hooked. I look forward to Mr. Arsenault's next book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good plot, fine writing Sept. 5 2003
By P.J. Denningan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You won't find many books like this among those from first-time mystery writers. Arsenault's use of language, humor and description is first-rate, as are the tightly interlocking story strands he weaves into a plot. A fun mystery I gobbled up in a single rainy weekend.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Debut Jan. 31 2006
By A. E Maloney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Eddie Bourque, a reporter for the Lowell Empire in Massachusetts, finds himself involved in a mystery that for him is personal...Eddie's beat partner has been found dead in a mill canal. Blocked at every step of the way Eddie is determined to find his partner's killer. Eddie struggles to stay ahead of ruthless hitmen, the city's power elite and the curious police

detective who always shows up when Eddie wishes she wouldn't. I found the story a little slow in the begining but towards the second half it really picked up the pace and I found myself liking Eddie Bourque and waiting with baited breath for the solution to this involved mystery. Mark Arsenault really knows his stuff about the inside world of the newspaper business and

local politics and conveys this with great writing, interesting characters and a great story. And wait until you meet General VonKatz...he's quite the character!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and Fast-Paced Sept. 8 2003
By Fred Greene - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Mr. Arsenault brings an enticing blend of memorable characters, witty humor and a well-crafted plot. I thought I had the mystery solved more than once only to find myself lured deeper into the tale as unsuspectd twists in the book kept me guessing as to the killer. An enjoyable mystery that will keep you turning the pages till the surprise ending.
4.0 out of 5 stars Has voice and character Feb. 7 2014
By Kevin Bergeron - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
My introduction to the author’s work was a short story about roller derby I read several years ago. I loved that story, and after recently re-reading it I decided to read one of his books, and found this book in the local public library.

The protagonist, Eddie Bourque, is a small time newspaper reporter with ambitions of breaking into the big time. Ambition is often self-defeating, and Eddie is also limited by a terrifying childhood experience. Fear and ambition are in his case related, and something he must recognize in order to navigate the cesspool of corruption into which his investigation of the death of a fellow reporter leads him. After many twists and turns, his search ends in the discovery of dead body that has been concealed in plain sight for many years. To find out how that could happen you'll have to read the book.

The milieu and atmosphere is pitch perfect. From the roof of the newspaper building, where Eddie and his editor meet at night to swig beer and drive golf balls, to the basement where a disabled war veteran keeps the archives, the world of the newspaper business comes vividly to life and makes for fun and fascinating reading. Also memorable is a drug addicted couple who live under a bridge and help Eddie along the way. The lively characters are quirky and amusing, and very realistic. The action scenes, however, are sometimes unrealistic, but they pass quickly and to my mind are not where the real story is anyway.

There’s some fascinating thematic material that begs for further exploration and development. I wonder, for instance, if the dead body is not in some way Eddie himself, if his investigation might in some way be a search to discover and eventually to free himself from his own limitations.

Whatever, there’s something about the voice and storytelling that is very engaging. It’s probably just that Mr. Arsenault knows and cares about his characters, particularly those who live on the fringes of society; brings them to life and makes you care about them too.
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