Friday, October 19, 2007

Lovecraft Circus / Book Reviews

I know I promised book reviews, but I don't really have time today.

Let me just say that if you are from Chicago you will not like Mr. Konrath's books because of the many gaffs and mistakes in details about our fair city.

What I do like is the audio book, in fact that is the only reason I listened to the second book. There are two readers, a man and a woman who read the male and female parts respectively. You would swear that there are about ten actors though. They are that good. I love the man's south side accent (showcased when he reads the Herb Benedict parts).

Some of the mistakes I remember off the top of my head:

1. Chicago does not have smog. Smog is smoke and fog. Chicago has smoke certainly, but rarely fog and not the temperature inversion you need to combine the smoke and fog and cook them together. You can see the stars from Chicago, they are obscured by LIGHT POLLUTION, but not smog.

2. People in Chicago NEVER call a Pizza a "PIE."

3. People in Chicago don't even know what a Hogie is (or how to spell it), let alone would ever eat one. In Chicago you eat ITALIAN BEEF SAMMICHES.

4. Chicagoans would never refer to a "highway" in this way, "I 90 otherwise known as the Kennedy." They would say, "the Kennedy, otherwise known as I90." This is a minor one, but it just didn't ring true.

5. There is no 53rd Street in Evanston.

6. Gary, IN is not 40 minutes from Chicago. It is 25 miles from the Loop, but is just the width of Hammond, IN from Chicago's south-east side. Chicago goes all the way to the Indiana border down there. I suppose that the main character, Jack Daniels is Loop centric, but that's no reason to say that Gary is further than Joliet, IL or Lake Forest, IL.

7. In the Chicago Police Department the Detectives do not have graded ranks (ie. Detective 1, Detective 2, etc.)

8. In the CPD detectives operate out of Areas, not districts (though I do give the author credit for not putting the CPD in precincts) and belong to the Bureau of Investigations.
9. The CPD Bureau of Investigations is commanded by a Deputy Superintendent. Deputy Superintendents are sometimes referred to as Dep, but the Superintendent is never referred to as the "Super."

10. "Feebies" is a VERY derogatory term for the FBI agents and is rarely used if at all. It would be like using the "N" word often and in mixed company. You just don't do it.
11. Chicago cops wear STARS, not "badges." He got this wrong in the first book, Whiskey Sour, but sometimes got it right in Rusty Nail.
12. The biggest one of all, Evanston is not on Chicago's west side. I don't know how or why Joe Konrath decided to move the home of Northwestern University. I have to think that he did it consciously, because he thanks a dozen people in his acknowledgments. One of them had to know where Evanston is.

Okay, that was pretty much the meat of my review anyway. The audio books are worth it for the theatrics, but the books, though suspenseful and high tension, just don't have enough Chicago rightness about them.

I don't know how to let Mr. Konrath know about his slip-ups. Maybe you gentle readers can help.

I'll give you another Cthulhu image if you do...

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