I’m going to keep this one simple.
It’s the middle of January and, unless something happens to completely alter the law of averages, this is going to be among my top 5 reads of the year. I can’t imagine enjoying many more as much as I did this.
Heath Lowrance has written some great pieces of late and I’ve loved everything I’ve read by him. Even so, City Of Heretics is my favourite to date.
The story is tremendous.
It has an arc that is perfectly formed and a pace that is always natural and never forced, like the author has allowed it to flow naturally.
Crowe comes out of prison and ends up in Memphis to settle some old scores. He’s hard as nails and he’s absolutely ruthless. He gets involved with the new gang-leader in town, a series of murders, a heroin addicted cop, a mean detective called Wills, his ex-girlfriend, a gang of church members with an Old-Testament view of the world and a freak show posse who’d make anyone’s hair curl up and try and worm itself back into the scalp it came from.
The characters are tremendous, right down to the bit part players.
The setting is mouth-wateringly described. Try this on for size:
“There was a sitting room immediately to the right, filled with the kind of overstuffed furniture that no one sits in and a Grandfather clock that ticked away the seconds of life with all the compassion of a killer.”
The action moments are perfectly weighted; I wanted to skip through them to find out who was going to end up OK, but the detail was too impressive allow me to do that.
The roots of this are definitely in the best of the noir heritage and Mr Lowrance has clearly read and absorbed many things that allow him to use subtlety as an art form.
The plot fits together like a tightly fitting jigsaw.
There’s an ending to blow the reader away, too.
I loved it. Loved it because it was so easy to read. Loved it for the simplicity of the development. Loved it for the pure pleasure it gave off right from the beginning.
It is one of those books that don’t come around so often, a novel that brings joy and pleasure because of the way it’s been written.
Brooding, fresh, dark, eventful, full of suspense and tension and nigh on perfect.