SONGS OF INNOCENCE
by Richard Aleas
Hard Case Crime (Available July 7)
This is not an easy book to review. Not because of the technical aspects, Aleas is a professional and knows what he’s doing. Nor because of the actual talent he possesses as a storyteller. No, the reason why this novel is so difficult to grapple with is the subject matter itself; the underworld of sexual enterprise that exists in big cities like
Former private investigator, John Blake, is attending
The action and characters move quickly across the landscape of Blake’s hunt, but what is truly revealed isn’t so much Dorie’s past as Blake’s own inner demons. By the time he’s been shot at, kidnapped and framed for as yet another murder, John Blake slowly begins to understand he’s not as street savvy, or jaded as he perceived himself to be. As each new twisted, sick revelation is uncovered, his own spirit becomes mired in an unrelenting tragedy from which he has no escape. His footsteps lead him to a dead-end of the heart and a transformation that is both shocking and despairing.
There is little hope left in Aleas’ climax and that is the hallmark of noir thrillers. Noir is a pessimistic view of the world stripped away of false beliefs, without faith or any basic human decency able to stem the tide of darkness. If such turns out to be valid, then all of us had better start praying and fast. None of which lessens the end result here, SONGS OF INNOCENCE is a great book!