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Chasing Smoke Paperback – November 15, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Irascible homicide detective Thomas Skin Kadash battles cancer while drawn into investigating a string of suicides with a common link in Cameron's thinly plotted second novel. Officially on medical leave from the Portland, Ore., police department, Skin is called to a crime scene by his partner, Det. Susan Mulvaney, when she discovers that the deceased was being treated by Skin's oncologist and wasn't the first of the doctor's patients to kill themselves. A list of five men—including several who have already committed suicide—surfaces, but when the police look into the deaths, there's little to suggest they weren't the last acts of men with terminal illnesses. Unconvinced, Skin launches his own unofficial investigation, while trying to withstand the pain of bladder cancer. Though Cameron (Lost Dog) uses the moody Northwest locale to his advantage, the uneven plot and thoroughly dislikable protagonist make for a disappointing read. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
The author of the popular debut mystery Lost Dog (2007) follows up with an intriguing story about a cancer-stricken homicide detective, Skin Kadash, who’s looking into the apparent suicides of several people who were patients of the same doctor, who happens to have been Skin’s doctor, too. Despite a premise that suggests black humor and a protagonist with a name that sounds like it came out of a Woody Allen essay, this is a serious crime novel. Cameron tells two stories, the investigation itself and Skin’s coming-to-terms with his possible death, and he tells them beautifully, making us feel what’s going on inside Skin’s mind. Skin Kadash is a compelling lead character, worthy of a series (if he lives that long), and the novel, set in Portland, Oregon, is dirty and visceral and intricate, and it engages the reader on an emotional as well as literary level. Fans of Lost Dogs will be thrilled, but expect this one to bring in a whole new crowd of readers. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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Like every good hard-boiled mystery, the protagonist has a difficult time following the rules, has an adversarial relationship with his supervisor, and is better at antagonizing the people he interviews than getting valuable information from them. He has sharp wit, razor tongue, and a gift for sarcasm. But he is also very introspective, although often seems ambivalent, about his career, love life, and cancer. Kadash seems likable to those who really know him, but sadly, that is a small group of people. And he doesn't seem to have a problem making the group smaller.
I enjoyed Chasing Smoke, especially the second half. My first impression about Bill Cameron was right: he is fun to read. A smartass of the first order!
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