From Publishers Weekly
Clark (Westerfield's Chain
) originally self-published this slim, sparse, and heartbreaking novel, selling it to passengers in his Chicago taxicab, and apparently autobiographical elements add poignant realism at the cost of emotional resolution. Eddie Miles is shaken when fellow nighttime cabbie Lenny Smigelkowski falls victim to a serial killer. Eddie also discovers Relita, a teen prostitute brutally mutilated and abandoned in an alley. As Eddie mourns Lenny's death and Relita's pain and tries to find their assailants, he ponders other losses: his father's real estate investments; the innocence of young women entering prostitution; Eddie's daughter, now in his ex-wife's custody; and his faith in humanity as his fares try to abuse, intimidate, and rob him. Little gems of hope sparkle throughout the gloom, but the bleak conclusion of Eddie's long trip to nowhere leaves him and the reader mired in despair. (June)
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Eddie Miles is an old-school cab driver working the streets of Chicago in the mid-1990s. He’s a throwback to an earlier era of homegrown cabbies who knew every street and alley on their beats. Clark’s tale is really more of a mood piece than a crime novel. Yes, Eddie does turn amateur sleuth in an effort to determine who killed his best friend, Lenny, a fellow hack whose body was found in an alley near the notorious Cabrini-Green housing project, but the real focus isn’t so much on the wave of cabbie killings gripping the city as on the city itself. Eddie drives the streets at night like Harry Bosch in a Michael Connelly novel (or a less-crazed Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver) and comments on what he sees and hears, from obnoxious yuppie tourists on Rush Street through teenage prostitutes on West Side corners. The cynical, melancholy cabbie point of view is perfect for this kind of neon-lit, noir-tinged, saxophone-scored prose poem, and Clark hits all the right notes. Pair this with Donald Westlake’s Somebody Owes Me Money (2008), also about cabbies and crime. --Bill Ott