Cole Quick has been away from home for a long time. Thirteen years earlier, he’d skipped town with his soon-to-be wife and a substantial debt to a drug dealer. Over the ensuing years, Quick tried to live a better life. After all, his wife gave up her inheritance to be with him. Then, cancer took her, leaving him without an anchor.
When Quick’s alcoholic father dies, Quick returns for the funeral. There, he’ll face the dealer (and his law enforcement friends), his dead wife’s family, and a town riddled with racism, class strife, and corruption. They’re not going to leave him alone—thanks to his father, Quick has something everyone wants. As he slides back into old temptations and the Teller County underworld, the dark forces that plague Rose City may not be Cole’s worst enemy…
Michael Pool’s Rose City: A Teller County Novel is a fast-moving piece of classic noir. The first beat-down starts on page five. And like the action, Pool’s dialog has punch:
“Tell the truth, I hate cocaine,” Fat Jerry says.
“Is that right?” Cole asked.
Yeah,” Fat Jerry said, grinning, “but I love the way it smells.”
Rose City is filled with authentic characters and vivid small-town descriptions. Cole Quick is a painfully flawed protagonist who sees what money has done to the place he grew up. Ironic, then, that his redemption may lie in his dead father’s windfall…
Don’t expect a formulaic arc or familiar plot points. Pool is too smart for that. If you like your noir complex (and more than a little messy), Rose City is your book. My favorite novel so far this year. (Five stars out of five)