Audible recommended this one to me on the back of another recent superhero purchase, and it’s scary sometimes how well it knows me. Not a superhero, but more of a dark vigilante. Superheros only exist in comic books and on the screen. On the mean streets of Iron City in the 80s, crime and drugs take a toll on the citizens unfortunate enough to live there. But like every crime-ridden metropolis, there are those trying to gentrify and push it to new heights.
The Roach, aka Reese Roberts, is partly responsible for the city surging ahead, but not in the way you might think. He used to be a masked vigilante, patrolling the streets and sewers and taking out the trash of the city. Gift-wrapping gangbangers and drug dealers for the cops.
Until one night, he’s shot in the back. Now paralyzed and pissed off with everything, he spends his days drinking hard liquor and shutting out everyone he knows, except Laura. The last person he saved.
The story is extremely well written, gritty, dirty, mean, and dark… you can feel how downtrodden Reese is, and how much he misses his old life. He’d tip himself into the brown sludge that Iron City calls a river if it wasn’t for that one, tiny light in his life keeping him going.
Going into this, I read a few reviews before picking it up. Some described it like Sin City or Gotham City, and I can see it as a mixture of the two. Not that I’m super familiar with either, but I’ve seen Sin City and a few Batman movies and for me, this is definitely how I pictured it in my head.
R.C. Bray, one of the most celebrated narrators out there, of course delivers a knockout performance. He’s one of those guys that has done heaps of stuff and gets as much kudos, but somehow I’ve only ever managed to listen to one other book he has done. Top job though. Production was good too, but not excellent because I did jot down a few times background noises were evident. Nothing too dramatic, but enough to pull me out of the moment.
This was a fantastic one-shot, and I was both happy and sad when it ended. I really began to feel for Reese Roberts and parts of it had me choking up by the end. A few more things to note. Language – if you don’t like f-bombs and other such language, well this book is littered with them.
Also, for some reason, the editor decided to interview the author and tack it onto the end. I could have lived with this, but the quality was so horrendously bad it really made me question their state of mind. The interviewer sounded like they were recording through a computer mic in a non-soundproofed room, and Rhett was responding over a Zoom call with a poor connection. It was so lazy and so poorly produced that I couldn’t listen to it.