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Posted December 15, 2011
Taut, gritty crime fiction
Fans of the Georgia Davis PI series (Easy Innocence and Doubleback ), and anybody that loves police procedurals written tautly, with grit and a healthy dose of noir will love this one. Toxicity is a prequel to the other Georgia Davis PI books and takes place ten years earlier when Georgia is a young cop on an suburban Chicago police force. The story opens with a hook. The antagonist over seeing the death of a man dying in agony. This prologue will pull the reader in and grab their attention like a road accident. There is no cure for morbid curiosity.We know we shouldn¿t look, be we can¿t help ourselves. In suburban north shore Chicago three bodies turn up in succession, all ¿dumped¿; one in a garbage truck to be ground up, one in a land fill and one in a pit in a waste disposal site. Glenbrook detective Matt Singer is called to the scene of the first body where Officer Georgia Davis, his fiancé, is securing the scene doing crowd control. Soon another body is discovered in the jurisdiction of Detective Sergeant John Stone, from neighboring Northview. There¿s nothing to tie the crimes together except for the fact that both were peripherally associated with a developer named Feldman who also owns the garbage company. Singer and Stone partner up, and when a third body shows up, and the actual cause in none of the deaths is readily identifiable by the M.E. The political pressure, and the pressure from the wealthy Feldman¿s starts to pile on. The story is really a ¿how done it¿, not a who done it, and Hellmann writes tight well researched prose to make the story work oh so well. There is a certain ¿hardboiled¿ feeling to the story without the use of the usual clichés.Instead, the dialogue is taut and to the point but never relies on ¿tough guy¿ one liners. The hardboiled atmosphere, instead comes from the dark aspects of the story and the gritty persistence of the characters and a pace to the story that is perfect. The character development, which happens slickly as the plot unwinds, and is seamlessly woven into the story, draws the characters as real humans with real lives. Before you know it you are familiar with their dreams, frustrations and motivations. And there is nothing of the sensational, they walk across the scenes as complete characters, from wrinkled suits to bad habits, from endearing traits to thought processes. The plot itself is complex and full of red herrings and dead ends that aren¿t just ¿devices¿ but tell the back story. There are elements pertinent to current concerns about the environment, corporate greed, and corruption of the political and legal systems. Hellmann uses small details to instill a sense of place and to bring the story to life'; a Bob Dylan poster on a lawyers wall, with psychedelic colored hair (I own this poster!), the green copy button and the smell of ink from a Xerox machine. But the details push the story along, not weigh it down. You can see, feel, and smell the places and the people. Hellmann is also wildly successful in developing empathy for the antagonist who is drawn as both a victim and a cold blooded serial killer. The back story is real, and has happened a thousand times only to be quickly forgotten, but Hellmann makes the reader aware that it is not forgotten by those whose lives it effected and that when the system fails, sometimes people take justice into their own hands.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 17, 2011
A great read!!!
As a professional environmental analytical chemist I was already predisposed to have fun with this new story by Libby Fischer Hellmann, one of my favorite Chicago mystery writers. I was not disappointed; Libby did a wonderful job of interweaving some Georgia Davis backstory, several interesting interpersonal relationships, and tense environmental drama, into a believably frightening murder mystery! The story unfolds in a non-linear fashion, which can be a disaster for the reader (and author!) if not laid out well, and Ms. Hellmann succeeded admirably in letting us have the present and past story fragments coordinated beautifully in the push towards the denouement, imho. The resolution of both the mystery and the drama was quite satisfactory, and I greatly enjoyed the looks at the many facets which comprise Georgia Davis!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The only negative comments I will make are solely due to personal pet peeves of mine: misspellings of place/person names, and geographical direction errors, as part of a story where said places/persons/directions are used to flesh out the verisimilitude. Particular bugs that stuck in my eye: Georgia traveling south from Fullerton to get to Diversey (which is north), and Halsted Street repeatedly spelled Halstead. Granted, I'm picking at nits here, but there you have it! :-)
All told, five stars, I greatly enjoyed this story!!
Posted September 16, 2011
Toxicity is a good prequel to a great series!
Toxicity has Georgia, back when she was a cop. She is living with another cop, Matt. Matt is called when a dead body that may or may not be a homicide, but left in a dumpster, is found. Detective Stone, Matt's friend and former partner is also investigating another body. They actually end up with several bodies, with no visible signs of trauma other than death and dumped like garbage. There are flashbacks to a housing development that ties in, but you really have to read this action packed, hard to put down story with lots of character development and even a bit of romance. This is a must read, and then read all her other books! They are all good! Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 2, 2011
Great crime novel
Toxicity is about a serial killer that has the police force confused and the population scared. There are no marks on the victims, no way of telling how they died. They all just end up dead in a trash pile, dumpster or garbage place. No one can figure out why they die or if the deaths are even related.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I wasn't sure what to expect, but was blown away once I began reading. The author's style is fast paced and exciting. I literally couldn't put the book down. There are several main characters and several different view points going on at the same time, but it isn't confusing. There were just enough details to keep me reading and absorbed in the story, but not enough so that I figured it out too quickly. Think CSI meets Erin Brockovich. Combine that with excellent writing and you have a book that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
I received this book free of charge in exchange for my honest review.