Reading Brad Parks' book Faces of the Gone is great fun. The book is engaging, fast paced, witty and wry; it is pure reading entertainment.
The story takes place in Newark, New Jersey. Four bodies are found in a vacant lot, each killed by a single shot to the head. Thirty-one-year old Carter Ross, investigative newspaper reporter for the Newark Eagle-Examiner, is told by his editor to "get to the bottom of what the hell happened". Carter, with the aide of his Facebook-obsessed intern, heads out into the street to do just that.
As Carter works the story for "the bird", as locals refer to the Eagle-Examiner, he tries to discover what links the murder victims together. While he snoops around for the story, we meet an assortment of characters: Small-business owners, gang-bangers, strippers, grandmothers, and newspaper folks. Carter's observations on the newspaper business and the characters who work in it provide an entertaining back story to his investigation of the murders. And as he dodges his editor's demands for copy, Carter discovers a criminal scheme that puts his own life in danger.
Faces of the Gone is a great read. Fresh, original, and highly recommended.