A closer look into the drowning of an heiress who worked with Chicago’s most endangered residents shows private investigator Augustine Flood a side of the city, and of human nature, even he’s never seen before.
Alice Jane Ash is the last person you’d expect to find dead in suspicious circumstances. One of the heirs to the fabulous Heidecke family fortune, she chose to spend her youth as a project coordinator for the Second City’s homeless. Soon after A.J.’s mother, steely beauty Jane Ash, rescues him from his latest alcoholic binge by paying him $50,000 to dig up the truth about a case the police seem determined to dismiss as an accident, Augustine Flood (A Word to the Wise, 2009) realizes that A.J.’s life was devoted almost exclusively to the child prostitutes at Celeste Mayne’s Girls Refuge. Flood finds evidence that she took at least one of the girls, known only as Britney, to her own apartment. Tracking down Britney—even finding out her real name—will take Flood to Las Vegas, to Los Angeles and to Clarksdale, Miss. Along the way he’ll deal with pimps and procurers and repeatedly confront bad guys more heavily armed than he is. No matter how tawdry the revelations, however, they keep bringing him back to A.J.’s wealthy, divorced parents and their retinue of lawyers and lesser hirelings. By the time Flood turns over the very last rock, you’ll feel as if you’ve traveled a great distance, and not just geographically.
A tale that hurtles to its depressingly predictable conclusion with impressively baleful force.