Greg Cohoon (drmellow) wrote,
Greg Cohoon

Book Review: "Into An Unseen Distance" by Jim Arneberg

Into an Unseen DistanceInto an Unseen Distance by Jim Arneberg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this book. Brief summary: Jack Fallon owns a successful Chicago restaurant business. Organized crime interests want in, and they want to take the restaurant national. Fallon's not to keen on the idea. Persuasion is applied. People are tortured, kidnapped, and killed. Families are destroyed. Fallon and the organized crime elements come to an understanding.

The storytelling reminds me of pulp fiction (not the movie) and film noir. It is a very fun read, with action on almost every page. It is violent, and there is a lot of profanity, both of which are necessary and appropriate to the setting and characters. The element of organized crime throughout the book was very much focused on the "street level" aspect. There is not a main character who is a godfather making long-reaching plans that don't require him to get his hands dirty. Everyone gets their hands dirty in this book.

The characters are well-written and believable. Everyone has flaws, and almost everyone has redeeming qualities. Sometimes, it's hard to root for the protagonist, which makes him even that much more believable. The plot is good, with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes, but predictable enough to be believable and to keep the reader from getting lost. I loved that the story just started in the middle of negotiations for the restaurant, with very little backstory. The setting, characters, and conflict were presented quickly enough for me to get on board with the story very quickly, and backstory was revealed throughout the plot. This helped keep the pace varied enough remain interesting all the way through. As the story progressed, the action became more intense, and I became less willing to put the book down, anxious to read what was going to happen next. The ending wraps up the story nicely enough, while leaving plenty of opening for future development of the characters and future story lines. This is the first in a series of six books, so there are at least five more stories to be told. I'm adding them all to my "to-read" list.

One scene in particular that will stick with me for a long time involved using Coca-Cola as a torture device. It was vivid, novel, and believable. I'd love to see this book turned into a movie, and I think it would translate to the big screen very well. If it were made into a movie, I suspect the Coca-Cola torture scene would be one of the more memorable scenes.

I read the PDF e-version, which I converted to read on my Kindle. That was OK, but it left artifacts in the text from what were headers/footers in the PDF: the author's name and page numbers. Once I got used to skipping over them when I encountered them, it was easy enough to read. I wish a true ePub or Kindle version was available.

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Tags: books, reviews

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