"I love the lurid action of pulp. I love the dark urban landscape of noir. And I love hardboiled heroes. It was my affection for Chandler, Hammett, Macdonald, McBain, Thompson, Ellroy, Willeford, Leonard, Block, Pelecanos and Parker that got me writing. Four months ago I thought I’d finally broken through after a lot of years at the keyboard. A UK Publisher bought my debut thriller “Dark Digital Sky” and promised to publish it in May 2015. But a few weeks later they folded their crime imprint and voided the contracts of their crime writers."I was glad to hear that Mr. Allison decided to self publish and offer his book on Amazon. Good for him. I hoped that I'd find the book worth reading, it certainly had a great sounding character.
Chalk is our main character in "Dark Digital Sky". He used to be in the FBI until he flamed out in a spectacular way. He doesn't have much of a life, his wife left him, taking their son with her, he has bi-polar disorder and he tends to drink to excess when he gets depressed. He does have one thing going for him though, he is is a very successful private investigator with impressive computer skills. Chalk also has some hard won knowledge about how the most evil in our society stay hidden. He uses his knowledge of tracking psychopaths (learned and honed in his time with the FBI) to help thwart a monumentally scary terrorist who is holding the United States hostage. Chalk doesn't mean to fall into tracking this monster, all he was doing was helping a eminently dying billionaire find the offspring he fathered years ago when he donated to a sperm bank. He wants heirs and he needs Chalk to tack down the three sons he knows were fathered through test tubes.
I give this book four stars, with reservations. The book can be a little choppy but then I think that's what it truly might be like to be a detective or an investigator. You follow leads, you learn about the person you're tracking and you come to a dead end. You start again and still, dead ends. Everything goes into the file, much of the info is probably useless in answering the questions that need answered. We are so used to watching TV where in one hour the killer is revealed. To watch an investigator go down blind alleys is frustrating but part of reality. Hopefully, as the investigation goes on and the detective follows the bouncing ball of clues, he comes across a good thread. Pulling that thread get that detective closer to the why and who and to answers. The superfluous information collected in the investigation doesn't have to lead anywhere. However, in our fast moving world, it seems redundant. Carac Allison just has to learn how to iron out the creases and make all that chasing around a little smoother.
Carac Allison is a highly capable writer. I look forward to his tweaking this character and bringing his writing into a little more focus. He has created a character that I think about after the book is over. That's exceptional. That's what other great writers do. Allison, with a little seasoning, could be a terrific new author to watch. Lets hope he finds a happy place to land with a good publishing company and gets his next dozen book published because I look forward to reading more about Chalk.
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