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Calumet City    by Charlie Newton order for
Calumet City
by Charlie Newton
Order:  USA  Can
Touchstone, 2008 (2008)
* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

Travel to the tough streets of Chicago, and ride along with Patti Black, a seventeen year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. A 'bit overweight' and a woman with issues according to her supervisor and mentor, Patti - to hear her tell it - is a 'little white workin' girl' whose tough, haunted, and guarded past affects every moment of her life. She admits that 'Miller-time became somewhat extended' for quite a few years when she was younger, but now the rugby-playing ghetto cop is taking one day at a time and trying to make a difference on her beat in District 6, which most of the time is 'not a good place to be.'

Patti finds herself either directly or indirectly involved in several different cases when the non-stop, pulse-pounding action begins in Calumet City: the mayor of Chicago survives an assassination attempt, but rumors suggest that a black alderman with political ambitions and the notorious Louis Farrakhan may have had some involvement in planning the attempt; during a police raid on gangs implicated in drugs and stolen property, a body of a woman is discovered hidden in the basement wall; and an assistant state attorney is kidnapped and subsequently murdered. Facing pressures from her supervisor, mentor, and friend; from the superintendent of police and Internal Affairs division; and from the FBI, Patti is quickly drawn into a maelstrom of sordid perversions, dark secrets, and grotesque murders - but more importantly and more dangerously, Patti will be forced to finally confront her past (especially her gut-wrenching childhood experiences in a foster home in nearby Calumet City) which she thought she had successfully hidden from everyone, including herself.

Violent, suspenseful, and edgy, Calumet City succeeds simultaneously as tough-as-titanium noir crime novel, intriguing character study, and top-notch thriller. Unafraid of provocative issues and wonderfully adept at plotting and pacing, debut novelist Charlie Newton has produced a winner in vulnerable tough-gal Patti Black and Calumet City, which ought to be rated 'R' for raw and remarkable.

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