Whoa, I am behind.
Anywho, this book is a decent first outing by Marco. A native of Chicago who currently lives in Arizona, the life of the protagonist, James/Stan echoes that same pilgrimage but under very different circumstances. We first meet Stan en route to a friend’s party, where he flips out over a baseball bat and royally pisses off his wife, again. Apparently this is a re-occurring thing and it’s not until later that we learn the reason behind the crazy.
As a young boy, Stan, then James, witnessed a murder of an old man who was a friend of his in Burnham Park in Chicago. After much distress, he comes forward to the police as an eye witness, only to be royally screwed by shitty police work and racists pricks who didn’t give two shakes about a poor black kid in 1975. After being put in witness protection he dedicated his life to making sure mistakes like that didn’t happen to anyone else if he could help it.
As luck would have it, two of the gang members from that murder end up in Arizona, and shit gets real. Stan’s whole life starts to unravel after 30 years of secrets, and he spills the beans to his wife and best friend. The plot starts to get muddled when Stan heads back to Chicago to even the score. Turns out there is some Wire level corruption going on with some Clay Davis shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit being slung around, and Marco tries to tackle too many theories at once. However, it is still a good quick read and worth it if it’s still free on Amazon.
In the author’s note, Marco states that the story is loosely based on an actual murder that occurred in Chicago around that time. I enjoyed the baseball references, the Chicago imagery, and the fact that the book addresses the fact it would probably be really terrible to be put in witness protection, aside from not being killed if you stayed where you were. The characters are fleshed out relatively well, and the plot works up until the last few points when everyone is in on it, etc. This is a bit more than a murder mystery, but not thriller material by any means.