Dan Kruger

Created by Michael Cormany

Turn it up to eleven.

One of more interesting and entertaining gumshoes of the nineties was Michael Cormany's Generation X private eye/fuck-up DAN KRUGER, a thirty-something ex-cop (he accidentally shot an innocent bystander) and former rock musician who never quite learned to say "No."

What made Dan so refreshing was his being very much of his generation, particularly when it cameto music, even spending some time in a Chicago rock band called Full Frontal Nudity. It was a nice change, at the time from so many allegedly contemporay thirtyish and fortyish P.I.s seemed to be only listening to vintage jazz.

As contributor Mark Sullivan pointed out, "I'm always very aware of the appropriateness of a character's musical taste... In the first book, Kruger's's really into The Replacements, and the generational divide between him and a cop is marked out for all time when the cop is looking at the tapes in his car and reads the name Husker Du. Kruger knows it's really pronounced "Hoosker Du," but thinks better of correcting the cop. In later books his taste is a bit more straight rock, with touches of country -- actually, it was the first place I heard of Iris Dement."

Cormany's knowledge of -- and obvious love for -- Chicago didn't hurt either. But it was his penchant for crafting tight mysteries that didn't flinch when it came to the dark side of humanity or the seamier parts of the Windy City, and a deeply-flawed protagonist who somehow rose to the challange despite himself, that made these such a treat. Fans of Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder, particularly in his drinking days, or George Pelecanos' substance-abusing P.I. Nick Stefanos will find much to love in this series -- I certainly did.

Alas, despite plenty of critical acclaim, the series never really caught on. I guess fans found it hard to make a sympathetic character of a pill-popping alcoholic ex-cop rock musician White Sox fan.

But he'd probably go over well these days.



This site by P.I. writer Brad Lang, features an exclusive interview with Michael Cormany. Lang, by the way, is the creator mid-seventies private eye Crockett.

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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