There are few things I love more than reading a noir book that has all the necessary components to be a kick-ass book. Books that have plots driven by action, characters that come to life with believability, and dialogue that rings true are essential components for all books, but when they're embedded in a noir book that has crime, grit, and darkness, these books suck me in. Every once in a while, I get the pleasure of reading of reading a noir story that has all these pieces, but also mixes in heart, believable emotional conflicts, and leaves you feeling you would react the same way if you were in their shoes. Although hard to find, these books are the types of books that elevate authors into my “Must Read” group of authors. I am pleased to report that coming off the awesome An Eye for an Eye, which blew me away, Paul Heatley has outdone himself with his latest release, Fatboy.
In this well-crafted offering, Heatley tells the tale of Joey Hidalgo, a man with a temper, a drinking problem, and a reality that includes a wife who has left him and taken his young son away from him. Turning a blind eye to the true reasons for her departure, Hildalgo convinces himself if he can only turn a kidnapping scheme into a big payout, she'll come back to him and they can find their well-deserved happily ever after. But as every noir lover knows, the best plans never lead to a great outcome.
Heatley has created a well fleshed out man in Hidalgo. He loves his family with all his heart, yet he cannot control the animal that ranges from within. He hears only what he wants to hear when his wife tells him what has gone wrong in their life together. His desire to find an easy fix to a problem that has been brewing throughout his life is something many people can relate to. Hidalgo is a man many people can relate to in those regards, but his penchant for violence is what makes him a great character for this dark read.
I have been impressed with every offering Heatley has put forth. His short stories are superb and his previous book was a great revenge tale, but it seems Heatley saved his best for his latest. This book is what noir is meant to be; dark, gritty, and no shots at redemption.