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Occupational Hazards: A Novel Paperback – Bargain Price, July 8, 2008
The Amazon Book Review
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About the Author
Jonathan Segura is the deputy reviews editor for Publishers Weekly and holds a master's degree in fiction writing from Columbia University. He lives in Brooklyn.
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Top Customer Reviews
His current interest beyond the latest foolishness of Police Detective Dick, an apropos name if their ever was one, is a strange downtown land deal that smells of city kickbacks. His efforts to learn why LLC is buying decaying property meet roadblocks and official bureaucratic stalling; he struggles to even identify the group members. However everything turns dark when LLC board members die after he interrogates them; soon Bernard links their homicides to a vigilante neighborhood watch cleansing the streets brutally and lethally of drug and sex traffickers.
Bernard is not likeable; in fact he is reprehensible with his irresponsible and uncaring nature. However, in spite of his only desire being the next hazy high, readers will appreciate this antihero whose asides are poignant from a negative outlook. His dissertation on motive is on target as befitting a depraved cynic who feels there is nothing a person will not do. The inquiry is fun to follow as Bernard stays in character with his dirty purple haze outlooks throughout while walking the streets of Omaha and while fighting with Alison over the rug rat growing inside her. Not for everyone, purebred urban noir fans will welcome this unwelcome protagonist.
Author Segura paints characters that are vivid and likeable yet human (a reminder we aren't perfect). Segura writes with ease (or so it seems).
Worth the money and then some.
Though the plot at times is a bit convoluted, the sharpness of the writing and deftly handled dialogue carry the reader's attention through. Segura's a talented new voice. I look forward to reading his next novel.
I know he is supposed to be an anti-hero. However, even anti-heroes should give you a reason to root for them. Take Richard Stark's Parker and Alan Grofield. Both characters make their living on the wrong side of the law. Yet, you want them to win. In this story you don't care if Cockburn dies or not. His sole reason of existence is to get high and talk about how horrible it is to be alive. He doesn't even care about the story he is chasing. The main reason he pursues it to begin with is because he is rebelling against authority. Cockburn believes that he is some how morally and ethically superior to his boss because his boss use to be in sales. Undeserved moral indignation in hand, he intentionally tries to twist the story his boss wants him to write.
The second thing that really got me was the girlfriend. She is no better than he is. The main difference is that her family has money and has supported her eight or nine year stint as an undergrad. She even manages to get sloppy drunk knowing she is about three months pregnant. Then preaches to Cockburn about his need to grow up. The whole sub plot with Cockburn's girlfriend is annoying and senseless.
The third thing that really turned me against the book was the use of sentence fragments. There are a couple of spots where he uses fragments for over half of a paragraph. I think it is supposed to illustrate emotion. Ultimately it only serves to annoy with choppy reading.
For a first book it was a valiant effort. Sadly, it just never seemed to get off of the ground. I believe with some time Segura could be a good writer. Here he just makes a lot of mistakes that young writers make. He doesn't develop his characters in a way that gives them three-dimensional life. He doesn't develop characters you care about. Then he falls in to the trap of over using modern devices. I hope that he can find a good editorial staff to help him mold his next book into its full potential.