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Big City, Bad Blood Mass Market Paperback – February 26, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Ray Dudgeon Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Real-life Chicago PI Chercover, in his impressive hard-boiled debut, introduces Ray Dudgeon, a former Chicago reporter disillusioned with the newspaper business who has turned private detective. When Bob Loniski, a locations manager for Hollywood films, hires Dudgeon for protection after running afoul of a mid-level gangster, Dudgeon finds himself in the middle of an organized crime war. A number of forces hamper Dudgeon's efforts to keep his client alive, even as his probing reveals that Loniski may have witnessed a prominent local politician keeping unsavory company and that the violence may be connected to a broader conspiracy. Like many a classic PI, Dudgeon behaves according to his own subjective code. The author's considerable storytelling and characterization gifts compare favorably with those of Loren D. Estleman and other established masters of the crime genre. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Formerly a private investigator in Chicago and New Orleans, Sean Chercover has since written for film, television, and print. His first novel, Big City, Bad Blood, won and was nominated for numerous awards. He lives in Chicago and Toronto, and the commute is killing him.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (February 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061128686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061128684
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,174,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Jordan on January 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is one of the best debut novels I've read in over a decade. I rember when I read the first books by Robert Crais, Denis Lehane and Michael Connelly, and I got the same kind of buzz that I got while reading this.

Chercover writes about Chicago as only a native can, and he writes about a Chicago you don't see advertised on TV. It's a gritty dark place, and if you are smart you'll have Ray Dudgeon watching your back.

Dudgeon is a fromer reporter turned PI working a body gaurd job for a Hollywood location scout. Things quickly get out of hand and he has to make some tough choices.

Fast paced and smooth as silk, this does not read like a first novel, it reads like the work of a seasoned pro.

I predict big things for Mr. Chercover
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Kudos to author Sean Chercover and his irreverent Chicago PI Ray Dudgeon in this smart, well paced, debut. Dudgeon, a former investigation reporter for the Chicago Chronicle, takes on an assignment to guard Bob Loniski, a middle level Hollywood exec who sees something he shouldn't have while managing the logistics for film shoot on location in Chicago. In less time than it takes for the Cubs to blow any shot at a pennant, Dudgeon and Loniski are up to their kielbasas in Chicago mobsters and a rising body count. Chercover lays out a plausible plot early on, so there's not a lot of guessing, but any lack of intrigue is amply compensated by lively dialogue, a rich cast, and political scandal that is as much a part of the Windy City's legacy as Al Capone. More Mike Royko than Carl Sandburg, Chercover does a good job of capturing Chicago's gritty charm, especially in contrast to Hollywood's mind-numbing plastic pretentious vacuum.

"Big City, Bad Blood's" Dudgeon may remind you a lot of a Midwest version of Robert Crais' LA detective Elvis Cole, complete with the wise cracks and woman troubles. But far from LA's politically correct brand of bland, Dudgeon is a welcome throwback to the hardboiled heroes of Jim Thompson and Raymond Chandler, lubricating his progress with dark rum on the rocks with a pack of smokes always within easy reach. While some violent relief in the form of Cole's stoic Joe Pike is conspicuously absent, Dudgeon's childhood friend "Gravedigger" emerges late in the book, portending a larger role for the half-crazed sidekick in the inevitable sequels.

In short, a well-crafted and entertaining page-turner that deserves to put Chercover on the crime fiction map. I look forward to the next installment
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Format: Hardcover
I would never have known that this was the author's first novel if I hadn't been informed that this was the case. The book is well-written with tightly-knit prose, realistic dialogue and an intriguing plot. Best of all, the characters are well-fleshed, and even though this is the first of a series, I felt like I knew PI Ray Dudgeon very well by the end of the book. We learn enough about him and his past and personal life to care about him, but the book doesn't get bogged down in endless details. Chercover manages to strike a good balance between character development and keeping the book focused and on track, and he writes like an old pro. I have to say that I'm not generally a big fan of books that heavily feature a "mafia" element to them, but despite that, I'd give this book a five stars PLUS if I could! Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
The private eye novel is alive and well and living in Chicago.

Chercover's hardboiled debut alternately pays homage to and breaks new ground in the gumshoe genre. PI Ray Dudgeon is cut from the same cloth as Spenser, but does so with a realism and verve that breathes new life into the old standbys.

Yes, there is drinking, and brawling, and sex, and mob hits, and political corruption, and murder, and the obligatory warehouse torture scene. And yes, Dudgeon is a knight errant with a penchant for violence that gleefully recalls classic Mike Hammer. But there is also a sly sense of humor at play, and Dudgeon's humanity in the face of fear makes him a 3D hero rather than a stereotype.

Mix James Crumley with Robert Crais and you've got BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD. I'm looking forward to Chercover's follow-up.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I discovered Sean Chercover when I read The Trinity Game. That book was a real page turner. I wanted more. So I got Big City, Bad Blood. This is Chercover's debut novel. But it reads like the work of a seasoned author. The characters are believable, the story is fast-paced, the action is exciting. Now it's time to move on to the follow up to this book (Trigger City), and look forward to Sean's new book this summer (The Devil's Gane). Chercover joins the ranks of Earle Stanley Gardner, Rex Stout, and Elmore Leonard, as authors whose works I have read in their entirety. Great writing, Sean. Thanks for the stories.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an outstanding book! I don't usually read detective novels - but this was great, The main character is complex and seems real, and his relationship with his girlfriend covers new ground. It's a dark book, but also funny, with some subtle humour. The story is tense and moves at a fast pace. Once started I had to keep reading. I've been thinking a lot about this book in the few days since I read it.
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