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Synopsis

Among the most self-assured and sharply crafted debuts in recent years, a finalist for the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, the Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel, and an International Thriller Writers Award, and named the American Library Association’s Best Crime Novel Debut of 2008 (one of six), Calumet City detonates a Molotov cocktail of character-driven suspense and ghetto-Chicago intrigue. 

Meet Patti Black, the most decorated cop in Chicago. On her ghetto beat, Patti Black redefines the word badass. But her steel-plated exterior—solitary, stoic, loveless—belies the wrenching legacy of her orphan childhood. Haunted by the horrifying abuse she suffered at the hands of her foster parents, Patti Black sublimates past torments into a meticulously maintained tough-gal persona. When a series of unrelated cases—a drug bust gone bad, a mayoral assassination attempt, the murder of a state attorney, the exhumation of a long-concealed body from a tenement basement wall—all point in Patti Black’s direction, she finds herself facing the dark truth: You can’t hide from your history, no matter how far into the fog you run. For Patti Black, that history didn’t die in the tenement wall; it’s alive—and riding her down.  

In researching this electrifying thriller, Charlie Newton rode in the squad car with real-life street cop Patti Black. The result is a powerful fiction debut that captures the precise emotional landscape of one cop’s hard-bitten life in the trenches. This author joins that rare bread whose fiction is suffused with profound authenticity.

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