Newsroom Eyes

Mike Hodge

Created by David Mamet

The chances of David Mamet's MIKE HODGE becoming an actual series character are somewhere between slim and no fucking way, given that Mamet's last novel was over twenty years earlier.

Still, the notion of Mr. Glengarry Glen Ross allowing hotshot Chicago Tribune newshawk Hodge to take us down the mean streets of 1920s Chicago every couple of years is an intriguing idea. Especially since Hodge's one appearance to date, 2018's Chicago, was such a high-octane treat, not just for those tweed jacket types who get all wet whenever anyone vaguely "literary" decides to tackle a genre novel, but for anyone that appreciates a fresh new voice in the shamus game.

And Chicago is impressive -- it's an ambitious, swirling and dialogue-heavy tour-de-force that tries to pass itself off (not always successfully) as a terse, gritty revenge-driven rocker, but that doesn't mean the book itself is a failure, because failures rarely entertain and engage as well as this one does. As we follow Hodge on his quest to avenge the murder of his gal, Annie Walsh, it soon becomes apparent that this book isn't anymore about vengeance than Glengarry Glen Ross was about real estate. What matters is not so much what Mike does, but who he meets along the way, and even more importantly what they say to each other.

And boy, do they talk. As he hits the bricks, Mike rubs shoulders and mixes it up verbally with politicians, thugs, gangsters of various races and creeds, prostitutes, crooked cops, bootleggers, flappers, junkies, jazz musicians, B-girls and scam artists, the damned and the doomed all jockeying to survive, and talking their heads off while they do it.

Mamet, of course, is the the Oscar-nominated screenwriter of The Untouchables and the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of Glengarry Glen Ross. I'm guessing Chicago will eventually hit the big screen.

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Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.


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