From Lawrence Block's MATTHEW SCUDDER to Laura Lippman TESS MONAGHAN to Andrew Vachss' BURKE -- some of my favorite fictional characters are found deep within the pages of episodic detective novels. In DOWN THE DARKEST STREET, Alex Segura (Archie Comics, THE SILENT CITY) breathes life into PETE FERNANDEZ, creating a deep portrayal of a somebody you think you might know, but kinda wish you didn't.
Pete has screwed up his relationships, struggles with his recovery from alcoholism, and isn't always the sharpest tool in the box. His flaws and his failures help us navigate the vivid Miami landscape and a plot surrounding a missing girl, investigative journalism, and danger!
Segura is streets ahead when it comes to character development. Pete and his ex, Emily, are front-and-center. Their complicated relationship (with occasional guest appearances by Costello the cat, named after Elvis, not Lou) is everything ... all at one. There is a profundity with how they deal with one another. Their conflicts are the engine that powers this novel.
Segura litters his prose with music references (Clash, Smiths, Replacements, etc) creating a passive soundtrack for this story. You hear the songs playing as you read along. This is the sorta of story you'd devour while listening to the Grosse Point Blank on a sunlit summer beach somewhere.
This is a strong second novel. Pete is a nuanced character that feels 'lived' in and alive.
If you're looking to try something striking, give this a try.