Archive for 'Kelly, Charles'
Noir mysteries are the tragedies of the genre. The main character is usually a man with a mysterious past, marred by violence and memories of lost love, both of which still haunt him. This jaded character is brought out of his self-absorption by a mission, and during the course of the mission, he meets an innocent. The tension in the story is less about solving a mystery than the contrast between the world-weary and naive characters and the foreshadowing of a tragic ending. The reader is glued to the pages in the hope that the ending wonâ€™t be as tragic as the author is hinting. Because you would really like for everyone to live happily ever after, but you just know it isnâ€™t going to happen. I am pleased to say that in PAY HERE, Kelly takes the standard noir formula and does an excellent job with it.
PAY HERE starts with a funeral. Our innocent, Daly Marcus, arrives in Arizona to meet up with her old friend, Rhea Montero, only to discover that Rhea died the day before. A shaken Daly makes her way to the funeral, where she meets our tragic hero Michael Callan. It quickly becomes clear to Daly that Callan isnâ€™t asking questions about Rhea because he is a fellow mourner, but because he is an investigative reporter and he is trying to pump her for information about Rheaâ€™s shady dealings for his planned newspaper story.
In Callan, an Irish reporter transplanted to Phoenix, Arizona, Kelly has created a man who possesses both beautiful words and a heritage of violence â€“ the almost poetic description of the world around him emphasizes the despair he carries within him. Callan is a man who does what he needs to in order to survive, but he still recognizes innocence and longs for what he might have been if his life had been different. He tries to protect the naÃ¯ve Daly when, without realizing it, she sets off a lethal chain reaction. Callan is both worried about her safety and pleased that events are moving his story forward. The question is, when the bodies start piling up, will Callan protect Daly or use her as bait to draw out the big fish?
PAY HERE is a short book with a simple, but well-executed plot. And Kelly displays his talent for description and dialog by not belaboring it. With one or two powerful lines he gives intriguing glimpses into Callanâ€™s past or character and draws the reader deeper into the story. There are several one-liners that are just gutwrenching. Those are my favorite parts of PAY HERE – youâ€™ll know them when you get there.
Favorite character? Callan. Did I guess it? Yes. This one you read for the writing. Will I read another? Yes. The classic noir story, the concise writing, the modern setting, and the timely plot all make PAY HERE an interesting and very good read. Frankly, he sucked me in and I am not usually a noir fan.
Mystery Book Reviews by Liz at http://reviewedbyliz.com Â©2007