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Start Shooting (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

I was a big fan of Charlie Newton’s debut crime novel, Calumet City when it came out in the Spring of ’08 and was hoping that he’d put out something else someday. The wait is over and has been worth it. Start Shooting is also set in the mean streets of Chicago. It tells the story of the Vargas brothers, both Chicago cops, both caught up in forces larger than them. The older, Ruben, is a homicide cop who may or may not be dirty. Bobby, his younger brother, works narcotics. They find themselves in a morass of politics, paranoia and violence when a drug bust results in the death of a new cop, the wounding of a cop who is the son of a powerful bigshot, the ambitious state attorney general begins showing up and the screws are tightened to help win the city a bid for the Olympics. Not only do the characters not know who they can trust, we don’t know who to trust either.

Add to this mix a tabloid exposé that is targeting the brothers, allegations of corruption, an errupting gang war, IAD apointments, possible infiltration by the Feds, and a story of lost love that goes back thirty years – man, and that’s just within the first 150 pages!

Characters are drawn with fine and telling lines. “Jo Ann Mercia introduces herself as the US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and sits down uninvited. Seeing her here and in person at pushing midnight is so out of line I have to rub my eyes and remember to breathe…Mercia studies me like the motionless, ghetto pit bulls do when you’re about to step into their yard. She’s famous for putting cops and politicians in prison, and for ‘thirty-two-degree eyes that don’t blink when children die.’”

Every small section brings a new surprise, a new ratcheting up of tension and mistrust. At any moment you expect anything could happen because it does – hell, it did and it will. Call it noir, call it hard-boiled, call it impressive and call it great.

— JB


Hopes and Dreams can propel you through the fire; or they can burn you to death.

1975, Chicago: Coleen Brennan and Bobby Vargas fall in love at age six. At thirteen their secret kills Coleen, breaks Bobby's heart forever, and makes Coleen's twin sister Arleen a runaway who's never found.

Until today. Arleen Brennan reappears in Chicago to vie for the last-chance breakthrough role that has eluded her for two decades as an actress. Bobby never left; he's a gang cop caught in a street war that could derail the city's upcoming bid to host the Olympics.

When Bobby and Arleen collide, their reunion shocks them to their knees. Together they enter a twisted labyrinth of neighborhood secrets, gangland politics and murderous betrayal that threatens to consume everyone it touches.

About the Author

CHARLIE NEWTON'S first novel, Calumet City, was a finalist for the Edgar, International Thriller Writers, and Macavity awards, among others. This is his second novel.

Praise For…

“Can’t get enough of Chicago? The most dynamic character in Charlie Newton’s…terrific [START SHOOTING] is the Windy City--the down and dirty side of it, anyway…the voices reverberate in your ears, and the smell of gunfire lingers long after the last man is down.”--New York Times Book Review

“The vision of Chicago in this firecracker crime novel is one teeming with violence and venality, where 
Al Capone has been replaced by gangbangers and authorities are far from untouchable…his lit-fuse urgency hits you right in the gut.”--Entertainment Weekly

"Charlie Newton is the real goods, delivering bare-knuckles crime fiction with life-or-death action, visceral language, and characters whose flaws and humanity pull us into his cops-and-crime landscape. I was completely won over. Start Shooting is a superb balance between adrenaline and pathos."--Robert Crais, New York Times bestselling author of The Sentry

“[Charlie] Newton has given us a frenzied, frenetic, driving, punching, shouting, pinwheel of revelations about life in the wrong lane…I wanted to put the book down and shout, ‘Whoa, whoa! Slow it down just a little, please.’ But I couldn’t put the book down.”--Alan Cheuse, Chicago Tribune

"[Charlie] Newton’s books, all set in Chicago, are full of startling things — shocking plot turns, indelible characters, brutal violence alternating with moments of strange beauty and desperate tenderness."--Chicago Sun-Times

“Doing for the Windy City what The Wire did for Baltimore and James Ellroy's novels did for Los Angeles, [Start Shooting] uncovers with sardonic intensity the deep and seemingly irreversible connections between crime, politics, business and tabloid journalism….[Charlie] Newton delivers [a] thrilling, densely packed novel that makes most Chicago crime thrillers seem tame.”--Kirkus (starred review)

"A vast cast of characters, many deeply evil; numerous subplots...; copious violence and car chases; a granular look at the city; and a writing style that might be called fever dream....Arleen and Bobby are wonderfully realized characters, and the beyond-frenzied action is certainly hypnotic. Newton has created the writerly equivalent of every great Chicago bluesman who ever lived playing together; all soloing simultaneously. It might be messy, but you wouldn't want to miss a single note."--Booklist (starred review)

"Charlie Newton bar none is the most talented new voice of noir. Start Shooting had me on the edge of my seat for hours: dark, chilling, gripping, clever...Raymond Chandler would be proud."--Andrew F. Gulli, The Strand Magazine

 "The dark underside of Chicago's gangland snarls and bites juxtaposed against the sheer beauty of Newton's writing." —Crimespree Magazine 

Product Details
ISBN: 9780307743800
ISBN-10: 0307743802
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: October 30th, 2012
Pages: 320
Language: English
Series: Vintage