Friday, January 4, 2008

Calumet City-Charlie Newton

Calumet City
Charlie Newton
Touchstone, Mar 2008, $14.00
ISBN: 9781416533221

It has been almost two decades since Patti Black ran from her foster home in Calumet City. Her life with her foster parents was torturous, a chamber of horrors; that led to her drinking as a teen to forget the atrocities. After running away she eventually got her act together and has been a Chicago police officer. She is the most decorated cop in the city and in line to a promotion to detective. Her world starts to implode when she and her crew enter a gasoline soaked apartment where she finds walled inside the ruins the remains of her foster mother.

State Assistant District Attorney Richard Rhodes is a former foster child raised in that nightmarish home. Soon it is discovered that the mayor’s wife owned the house where Patti’s foster mom was “buried”. Too many clues lead back to Patti. CPD crime investigators and Internal Affairs, and the FBI want to interrogate Patti, but she is not talking to anyone. Instead she is on the road seeking her foster father who she thought was dead before he can find their son.

This is a dark gritty police procedural in which the protagonist is haunted by demons from her past despite putting on a tough presence in front of her peers or gangbangers. There are plenty of action and chase scenes, but the tale is owned by the fully developed Patti. Readers feel as if they know her yet lingering doubts persist re her innocence while also rooting for her to finally confront the demons that are devouring her mind.

Harriet Klausner