S. Craig Zahler’s “Mean Business on North Ganson Street” lives up to its title in spades http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00J6U7KDU?btkr=1. This is a bloody book, which is soon to be a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Fox .http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3014324/.
Zahler casts a wide net, showing a grim and disturbing portrait of an inner city gone terrible. The helpless are often victims, from the abused child beaten in the bathtub and forced to eat feces, to the murderous drug dealer who has hired a hit man to take out cops and anyone else. Faced with impossible odds of dealing with rampant crime, the cops had resorted to an unholy alliance with a local drug dealer, but that plan goes sideways, when the drug dealer stops cooperating. But in Zahler’s attempt to show crime at its worst, the women victims of the depicted violence suffer particularly odious wounds or are tortured to reveal information. The ends seems to justify the means. It is a grim book, and the hero cop suffers greatly. While it starts out pretty good its goes south big time. It was hard to ride it to its violent conclusion.
Jules Bettinger is a no nonsense detective forced to relocate from Arizona to Victory, Missouri after an interrogation in Arizona goes bad. Victory is such a grim location that Bettinger and his family are forced to live miles away from his job. Bettinger immediately proves his skills as a detective by figuring out that someone is killing young women in particularly heinous ways and filming it. Bettinger’s young partner seems to want to spend most of his time on the telephone texting his cold partner. In Zahler’s capable hands, Bettinger is revealed as a caring family man, with a deep love for his wife and younger daughter and slightly estranged from his teenage son. But are these scenes of love and family in the novel to augment Zahler’s portrait of his hero, or merely a way to make the last third of the book even more gruesome. The reader is definitely manipulated.
Two cops are killed their bodies dismembered gruesomely. Bettinger thinks his partner knows something about the murders, and learns about the drug dealer alliance that has gone sideways. It seems the drug dealer was beaten and withdrew his complaint against cops, but shortly thereafter the cops are being targeted and killed by hitmen. It does not take a genius to figure out the connection.
Bettinger has to figure out where the drug dealer is hiding out and stop the hitmen before the cop killers strike again, but the killers are going after cops in their homes and their loved ones are at risk. Bettinger will be forced to confront one killer in the worst possible place, and then team up with his partner as they go after the drug dealer in his lair.
This is a excessively violent story and some of the violence is particularly over the top.
The real world has its share of horrors, but Zahler’s vision of Victory, Missouri is hard and mean.
There are better cop stories out there. My advise read them instead.