I just finished reading Mean Town Blues by Sam Reaves and had to blog about it. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable book that will keep you guessing till the end how it’s all going to turn out. Main character Tommy McLain has just returned from Iraq where he suffered some pretty tough injuries. He’s from a dysfunctional family in Kentucky, and decides to leave home for Chicago because he has a good friend there. But his future takes a turn for the worst when he ends up killing a man who’s stalking the girl he’s dating. The man is related to a major mob boss. Soon rival mobsters are taking hits at each other, unsettling Chicago police, who decide Tommy is worth taking a look at for the original hit.
Tommy could keep himself out of trouble except he has a conscience. When an innocent man gets killed trying to protect his sister from the mobsters who blame her for the hit, Tommy gets re-involved. He ends up working for the two rival bosses, playing one against the other. Tommy’s tough and experienced in combat, and he just about has it worked out to his advantage when the police haul him in with news that rocks his world. Could his girlfriend, the one he saved from the stalker, have been lying to him all the time?
Full of unexpected twists and turns, Mean Town Blues is a fun, quick read. The prose is lean, and Tommy McLain is a believable war veteran who’s been through so much he sees the world a lot differently than you or I. You’ll enjoy getting to know this character. Others have compared Tommy to Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, but where Reacher is nearly invincible at 6’5″ and 250 pounds, Tommy is just tough. The question is, is he tough enough to survive this book? The good news: yes, he is. I highly recommend Mean Town Blues