Friday, December 11, 2009

Review: The Morgue & Me by John C. Ford

Found via: BBYA 2010 nominations

Before I get to the review, allow me to toot my own horn for a moment: happy blog-birthday to me! On December 11th, 2008 I posted my first blog review for Audrey, Wait. There have been some ups and downs in the past year in terms of my blogging schedule, since back in February I got married and also started a new job, and working two jobs from February to July didn't leave me much time for blogging, but in the last couple of months I think I've settled into a nice blogging pattern :-)

So, now that that's out of the way, time for that review, right?

It's the summer before Christopher Newell starts college and he needs to find himself a job. His parents are professors at a nearby college and offer to get him some kind of internship, but Christopher wants to strike out on his own a bit. When he sees a help wanted ad for a janitor at the local morgue, he pounces on it. Christopher hopes to be some sort of spy someday, and hopes he'll get some insights into forensic science by hanging out at the morgue.

Christopher never thought that he'd be walking into a murder cover up.

It's a perfect modern-noir tale. Christopher tries to play it cool as a pseudo-hard-boiled investigator, but it's clear he's just a kid who's in a little over his head. The cover up involves the highest authorities in town (or does it?), and a pattern of corruption that goes back for several years. Since the police may, or may not, be involved in the cover up and/or bribery scandal, the only person Christopher can trust is the femme-fatale-ish reporter, Tina, who hopes that this story will be her big break to get her out of Petoskey, Michigan and into a paper like the Detroit News.

Ford piles up mystery upon mystery here - what starts as an investigation into a murder cover up becomes more and more complex, dragging unexpected characters into the mix, completely isolating poor Christopher, save for his fellow investigator, Tina. This was definitely a book I couldn't put down - as I was reaching the climax of the story, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough, but abruptly looked up at one point because I realized I hadn't checked the subway stations in awhile - for all I knew I had sailed past my subway stop! I hadn't, luckily, but I was a lot closer to home than I would have thought.

For all that I loved about this book, I do have one small nitpick: if Mr. Ford did in fact grow up in Birmingham, Michigan, you would think he would have remembered to reference a carbonated cola beverage as "pop" rather than "soda!"


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