A Chicago cop tries to keep her own career-ending secret hidden while working an investigation that could cost her more than her badge.
In her sixth Chicago-set crime novel, this one a stand-alone featuring Detective Gina Simonetti, Edgar Award winner Schwegel (The Good Boy, 2013, etc.) backs herself—and her tough-talking protagonist—into a labyrinthine corner plot with no logical exits. Simonetti has not-quite-legal custody of her brother’s 2-year-old daughter, Isabel, whom she whisked away from a drug-addled home before the start of the novel. Trouble is, not only is Isabel not officially Simonetti’s, but Simonetti isn’t physically fit to be a cop: she suffers from the early stages of multiple sclerosis, a disease that rears its head when it suits the narrative rather than when it might naturally flare up for the patient. During a scuffle with suspect Johnny Marble, who's been accused of accosting his elderly mother, Simonetti not only gets knocked around, but loses her gun to Marble as a result of her condition. Turns out she’s not the only one who’s after Marble, but Simonetti is leery about whom to trust and what Marble might say about her capacity. The case starts to unravel when she visits Marble's mother, Kay St. Claire, who has Alzheimer's disease, and discovers something isn't right with the woman's seemingly attentive caregiver. Simonetti’s burning desire to protect Isabel, attempts to hide her own disability, and efforts to uncover the truth behind the fleecing of unknowing patients read like disparate plot points from three separate novels.
Despite a brash heroine with an empathetic predicament, there’s little to grasp onto here, leaving the reader adrift.