It’s not often that a book reviewer writes about a novel that features himself:
Reading the manuscript of Charlie Newton’s crime novel [Start Shooting] about a year ago, I came upon something startling. That was not unusual; Newton’s books, all set in Chicago, are full of startling things — shocking plot turns, indelible characters, brutal violence alternating with moments of strange beauty and desperate tenderness — but this was different. What made me gasp this time wasn’t a particular character or his actions but, rather, his name. Which also happened to be mine.
That’s from the Chicago Sun-Times review of Start Shooting, which is out today, by Kevin Nance, one of the book’s many characters torn from the pages of Chicago’s faster-than-a-speeding-bullet reality. And it’s not just minor characters. Bobby Vargas, the book’s gang-fighting hero, is a real-life police officer working on monitoring organized crime in Chicago. The New York Times, in its round up of stand-out new crime novels for 2012, testifies that “the [novel’s] voices reverberate in your ears, and the smell of gunfire lingers long after the last man is down.” The feeling is only magnified by the knowledge that everything in the book is so close to being real.
If you’re in Chicago, stop by the launch party tonight at The Hidden Shamrock to meet Charlie. It’s sure to be a thrillingly good time.