Start Shooting by Charlie Newton is an exciting, fast-paced story that never lets up. It starts quickly and keeps going to its thrilling conclusion. The reader gets the nitty gritty description of Chicago, the toughest parts, a hell on earth. Life in this area is short. Tragic characters living in such horrible conditions are very brave and prove this daily.
Bobby Vargas is a cop, a good one, just trying to make the streets safer. His brother, Ruben, is a different story. He’s a street legend but not all he appears to be. It’s infuriating what happens to Bobby. The villains in this book inspire such disgust.
Arleen Brennan is a hard-working waitress wanting to make it as an actress. She gets the big audition. Throughout the book, her agonizing suspense is gripping. Her twin sister was murdered as a child, and that comes back to haunt everyone. Accusations are given that ruin lives. Ruben involves Arleen in a dangerous sting, and this plays right alongside Arleen’s big audition. Arleen and Bobby are close, and this makes for interesting interplay, considering she wants his brother dead for the evil he’s doing.
Arlene and Bobby both have courage. Bobby also has integrity, and Arlene is quite clever, constantly in survival mode. Both are streetwise.
Though Bobby is a gang cop, it turns out there is something much bigger than the antics of street gangs going on here. International mystery is woven into this thriller, and one constantly feels the desperation of the characters.
The writing is direct and immediate. Short phrases make for intense emotion, filled with street slang. It adds poignancy but is sometimes confusing. The chapters alternate points of view. There are many surprises in this story and tension that goes for miles. A theme of dreams in life is prevalent.
For those not in the mood for a light read who would prefer an action-packed, raw, vivid story of harsh reality, this would be a great book to read. At first it comes across as a downer, but there’s so much satisfaction to be found in its pages. The end, well, I won’t give that away.