Unlicensed Chicago shamus Dek Elstrom struggles to protect a man all too close to him who does his very best to fight any trace of protection.
Far from taking it personally that Dek’s job got her kidnapped (The Dead Caller from Chicago, 2013), his ex-wife, Amanda, wants to hire him to find out why utilities czar Wendell Phelps, the father who was estranged from Amanda for many years before bringing her back into his orbit to help run the city’s biggest electric company, is so rattled that he’s hired detectives and bodyguards as his share prices have dipped. Or rather, she wants Phelps himself to hire Dek so that he’ll have control over what his ex-son-in-law learns. Phelps has never met Dek face to face before, but that doesn’t stop him from opening their very first meeting by confiding in him that three other members of what Dek’s well-connected friend Anton Chernek calls the heaviest of Chicago’s heavy cream—heart attack victim Benno Barberi, cancer sufferer Jim Whitman, and Grant Carson, who was struck by a hit-and-run driver—were all murdered. What alarms Dek even more is that a fourth member of this charmed circle, Phelps’ friend Arthur Lamm, has disappeared. That pattern spells danger for the Windy City’s wealthiest. But when Dek tells Phelps that his suspicions were indeed on target and there’s a killer out there, Phelps insists he was overreacting and takes Dek off the case. He can’t know what every reader will: that firing Dek is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.
The most densely woven of Dek’s five cases to date, even though you may lose track of who’s dead and who’s not long before Fredrickson sounds the last trumpet.