Twenty-one excellent reasons to stay out of the Windy City.
It’s amazing how many things can go wrong in Chicago, whether you buy into Stuart Kaminsky’s high-stakes poker game or head out to Wrigley Field with D.C. Brod. David J. Walker’s cops are as crooked as his crooks, and the open mike at Jack Fredrickson’s bar turns out to be devilish. Even series regulars have the blues. J.A. Konrath pits Lt. Jack Daniels against a bomber who’s beyond suicidal; Kris Nelscott’s first short case for Smokey Dalton requires him to be as sensitive and brave as her novels; Michael Allen Dymmoch serves up an ice-cold case for Det. John Thinnes. Most of the 17 new stories are more notable for their deep-blue mood than for their plot, but Sam Reaves’s Mob anecdote has enough double crosses for a TV series, and Mary V. Welk’s ER nurse is memorably chilling. Of the four reprints, Barbara D’Amato’s “The Lower Wacker Hilton” and Sara Paretsky’s “Publicity Stunts” deserve another look, and Marcus Sakey’s “No One” is worth reading for its arctic final word. Other contributors include Kevin Guilfoile, Sean Chercover, Max Allan Collins, Michael Black, Steve Mandel, Sam Hill, Ron Levitsky, Brian Pinkerton and editor Hellmann, none of them in a good mood.
In the superfluous headnotes, the authors, all with close ties to the city, agree that Chicago is bold, reeking and real—a gift to mystery writers—and every single one of them is right.