Monday, January 4, 2016

THE BIG UGLY by Jake Hinkson

The Big Ugly is more of a hard-boiled mystery than the all-out dark noir in Hinkson's other work. But that's not a bad thing at all. This novel sports the most sympathetic and likable character in all of his work, even if she's not the most fascinating. Ellie Bennett is a recently released ex-convict and former correctional officer who has just been released from prison for beating up one of her inmates. Once she gets out and is in need of a job, she tries her hand at a little detecting after she's approached with the task of tracking down a fellow parolee that every shady character in the city seems to want to find. Now that I think about it while writing this, the book reminds me a lot of Walter Mosley's great Devil In A Blue Dress, in regards to plot and structure.

What follows this time around is a somewhat toned down Hinkson tale when compared to his past work but it's still just as confidently written, compelling, and as unflinching at its commentary of Christianity. He also makes Ellie Bennett instantly like-able, a woman in prison but guilty of nothing but making bad relationship decisions. Her dreams of working as a cop are ruined but I love how she latches on to psuedo-detective work as the next best thing. She's a little rough around the edges as a detective, but that's what makes the story interesting! This is another enjoyable piece of work by an author who is consistently rewarding. If you're a fan of great crime fiction, stop what you're doing and read this guy!


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