SILENT CITY by Alex Segura

SILENT CITY

Codorus Press
October 2013

Mood is everything in a novel. Music sounds richer. Colors seem deeper. Memories take you back to specific times and places; some happy, most are sad.

Alex Segura nails the mood his first time out with his debut novel, SILENT CITY. He takes the reader on a rough and tumble tour of his hometown of Miami, Florida. But hold on – this isn’t the Miami of USA Network’s Burn Notice. No one is cracking wise with a drink by the ocean; Segura’s Miami is haunted by a silent killer while our hero is haunted by his failures.

Pete Fernandez was a rising star; a journalist covering the New Jersey sports beat. Pete had it all. But after having to move back to Miami to settle his father’s affairs, everything slowly started to fall apart. Now barely getting by with the Miami Times, Pete’s life is slowly crumbling away in a sea of broken relationships, missed opportunities, and alcohol. The depression that has settled over Pete’s life is painted so well; the reader can feel it through the page. Sometimes to a very unsettling degree. So when a co-worker unexpectedly comes to Pete to ask him to look into the disappearance of his estranged daughter, Pete takes to the task quickly. Doing the favor returns a spark to Pete’s day that he hadn’t felt in some time. Pete has a reason to get up and get out of his apartment. He has a reason to crawl out of the hole he’s been in since his father died.

As Pete flounders through his day, Segura narrates his existence with music. You know what Pete listens to on his headset while burning hours at his desk before it’s time to go home. You know what song plays as his cellphone ringtone. This is done so smoothly, that before you know what’s happening, Segura has already pressed “play” to the soundtrack in your mind. It’s all part of the moody setting of SILENT CITY.

Clocking in at under 200 pages, you may be tempted to think of SILENT CITY as a “quick read”. Don’t be fooled. The page count may be minimal, but all of that rich tone and background of the book make this a very meaty read. SILENT CITY stuck with me long after I finished it. I talked about it with friends, and turned it over in my head days later. That’s the best compliment I can give.

DOWN THE DARKEST STREET is the name of the next Alex Segura novel. I strongly suggest you save a place on your shelf for it.

Dan Malmon