Tag Archives: Chicago

Running from a Gamble – Company of Thieves

These are Chicago folks. They are youngsters with a female lead singer who has a cool voice. They put together some popular rock stuff. I like it. The female lead has a distinctive voice but I can’t quite peg why. She has this accent or something. It’s kind of like this wealthy, North Shore lockjaw thing without the pretentiousness. I know, that’s a strange way to describe someone’s voice and it probably speaks to my lack of ability to critique any sort of music. Her name is Genevieve Schatz and she seems to be gaining some acclaim. She rocks.

It’s mostly relatively mellow rock with strong vocals, but it doesn’t stick to the genre. It’s guitars and drums and keyboards and sometimes get’s loud enough that Schatz has to belt out some serious vocals, probably maxing out her volume. They throw in some horns and other stuff in a few songs. Good variety. Their lyrics reflect some anger and some angst, but are plenty uplifting.

I have both of their studio albums and it’s good stuff.

The Chicago Way

I wish I could remember the route I’ve taken to each book in my life. Something led me to find this book on my Kindle, but I can’t recall what. Harvey writes crime novels based in Chicago, so any number of reasons could have been involved. And for some reason it was only $1.59, which plants this squarely in the “no-brainer” category.

I enjoyed it. It was funny and full of detailed Chicago stuff. The mystery was solid also. It’s the story of an ex-cop, Michael Kelly, who’s now in business for himself. He’s in his office one day and a former partner walks in and asks him for some help on an old case that was never fully resolved. Then the former partner ends up dead shortly thereafter.

We have crooked cops and lawyers. We have two strong women, one of whom is a love interest and the other a close childhood friend. And we have a serial killer on death row in southern Illinois with some secrets. We also get a solid twist in the end that I didn’t see coming (probably my own fault).

Kelly is a Cubs fan and at times Harvey tries to make it a little too wry and gritty. But it’s endearing, here’s a scene:

I found my way over to the concession stand, stepped inside, and ordered a red-hot drug through the garden. The Packer fans stood nearby, eating a double of order of cheese fries. Each.

I liked it.

The Blade Itself

Whoa, what a great book. This is the debut novel by an author who lives in Chicago named Marcus Sakey. Not sure how I heard about him, but you can read more about him at his website. It’s a crime thriller set in Chicago and the suburbs. The main character grew up in Bridgeport, lives in Wrigleyville, and works in construction for a developer who lives in Winnetka. Not sure why, but it’s just cool reading stuff that takes place in your city.

So there are two guys, Danny and Evan, who grew together and had a relatively lucrative trade in small-time robbery. That is, until one job goes awry, resulting in Evan getting locked up for seven years and Danny escaping without a scratch (thanks to Evan for keeping his pie hole shut). Danny goes on to live a normal life; he has a decent gig in construction, a nice girlfriend, and plenty of time for leisurely walks through the Lincoln Park Zoo. But it doesn’t last long once Evan gets out of jail and looks for some payback from Danny.

It’s a classic story line, but not tired. One half of the crime duo has a conscience and the other is a cold-blooded murderer. One wants out and the other can’t envision a life without crime. Sakey keeps it fresh by exploring Danny’s internal struggle, taking occasional shots at developers and yuppies, and making the villain really, really evil.

The ending was a little fluffy. I’ll be interested to see what others say about it.

I love the crime novel and I loved this book. Evidently, Ben Affleck also liked it because his production company supposedly bought the rights to the book. Hmmm. Sakey has his second book coming out any day now but I will sit tight for a year until comes out in paperback.