Charm City Killer – Josh Petroski

Pages: 234
Date Released: 03/05/2021

In the world of a 2008 yellow pages sales rep, nostalgia converges with technology in a very dark way. Charm City Killer is a psychological thriller set in 2008 Baltimore during the Great Recession. It was a time during which many traditional advertising mediums died at the hands of the internet. Moe Steadman, a defeated 33-year veteran of yellow page advertising sales takes revenge on his internet competitors. As the police close in and he falls deeper into mental breakdown, we learn that reality is not what it seems, just as in the end, what Moe thought represented love and true beauty are not what they seem.

*****

*Contains minor plot spoilers*

Thanks to Josh for sending me a gifted copy of his book in return for an honest review.

I was really, really impressed with this book. Apart from one bit (I’ll get into that), it was really well written, with well developed characters and a thrilling plot.

I felt the main character of Moe was a real piece of work. They were complicated and nasty but sometimes kind and confused. Moe was written so well you could visualise them instantly. I’m sure glad I don’t know anyone like them in reality. But it proves that not everyone or everything is as they seem.

As I mentioned above, there was one slightly irritating sentence. Most people probably wouldn’t have picked up on it but it is something that irks me anytime I read it, and it’s when an author describes a woman in a particular way, such as “her breasts danced in rhythm to her cries” (this is not the sentence in the book but it’s similar). I have an issue with this because our breasts don’t dance to a rhythm – believe me if they did I’d have joined the circus by now. Again it’s not a big problem but it did stick with me for the wrong reasons.

There are a number of quite difficult topics such as debt, drink and drug abuse, sex abuse, murder, gender identity, and mental health which were written about with such sensitivity.

It’s full of twists and turns throughout, with an almighty ending. I do hope there will be his line from Petroski.

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