Friday, February 29, 2008

Mystery Book Review: Calumet City by Charlie Newton

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, has written a review of Calumet City by Charlie Newton. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Calumet City by Charlie NewtonBuy from Amazon.com

Calumet City by
Non-series

Touchstone (Trade paperback)
ISBN-10: 1-4165-3322-2 (1416533222)
ISBN-13: 978-1-4165-3322-1 (9781416233221)
Publication Date: March 2008
List Price: $14.00

Synopsis (from the publisher): Meet Patti Black, the most decorated cop in . 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.

Review: Charlie Newton's debut novel, Calumet City, is a dark, gritty, and suspenseful tale of the cops, and one in particular, that patrol the gangland streets of Chicago.

Patti Black escaped from an appalling, terrifying life in a foster home in Calumet City, a suburb south of Chicago. She faced her demons, buried them, and escaped. She was still a teen-ager. With a lot of help she brought herself up out of the gutter and became a Chicago cop. Though she remained an embittered adult, she showed integrity, honesty and fairness when it was due. But she had a deep, dreadful secret concerning her life in Calumet City, one she thought she would never reveal to any one. On her application to the police academy she purposely omitted or simply lied about certain areas of her life. This seemed to go unnoticed. Now it appears as if her past is going to haunt her. When some factions of the city want a casino in Chicago, and others are determined to fight it, an attempt is made on the mayor’s life. Then a huge drug bust fails, killing one and injuring two. The state attorney is found murdered. And a woman’s body, identified as the foster mother of Patti, is found buried in a wall of an old building. Coincidences? Patti doesn’t think so.

Calumet City is a dark and frequently violent tale of a part of Chicago that the board of tourism doesn't promote. The story, which at times seems more than a little derivative, moves along at a rapid pace due partly to Newton's crisp style of writing but due primarily to the fully developed character of Patti Black. As an interesting side note, Patti Black is based on a real Chicago police officer with whom the author spent time while developing the story for this book. His research pays off with this terrific thriller.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of for contributing her review of Calumet City and to Simon & Schuster for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2008 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved.

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New Hardcover Mysteries for March 2008

New Hardcover Mystery Books

The Hidden Staircase Mystery Books has updated its list of scheduled for publication in March 2008.

For our series fans, we've listed those titles with their series character(s) separately below:

A Reason to Kill by Jane Adams. Rina Martin (1st).

The Silver Swan by Benjamin Black. Quirke (2nd). Scheduled to be reviewed by .

Murder in the Rue De Paradis by Cara Black. Aimee Leduc (7th). Scheduled to be reviewed by .

Tell Me, Pretty Maiden by Rhys Bowen. Mollie Murphy (7th).

The Invisible by Andrew Britton. Ryan Kealey (3rd).

Cross by Ken Bruen. Jack Taylor (6th).

St. Barts Breakdown by Don Bruns. Mick Sever (4th). Scheduled to be reviewed by .

The Silver Needle Murder by Laura Childs. Theodosia Browning, Tea Shop (9th).

The Case Runner by Carlos Cisneros. Alejandro del Fuerte (1st).

Turn Up the Heat by Jessica Conant-Park. Chloe Carter, Gourmet Girl (3rd).

The Fourth Man by K. O. Dahl. Frank Frolich (1st).

Killer Heat by Linda Fairstein. Alex Cooper (10th).

Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke. Hannah Swensen (10th).

A Taste to Die For by J. G. Goodhind. Hannah Driver (2nd).

Chasin' the Wind by Michael Haskins. Mad Mick Murphy (1st).

Murder in the Park by Veronica Heley. Ellie Quicke (9th).

The Price of Blood by Declan Hughes. Ed Loy (3rd).

Goodbye Sister Disco by James Patrick Hunt. George Hastings (2nd).

Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman. Alex Delaware (22nd).

Death in Hellfire by Deryn Lake. John Rawlings (12th).

Another Thing to Fall by Laura Lippman. Tess Monaghan (10th).

Curse of the Spellmans by Lisa Lutz. Isabel Spellman (2nd).

Soldier of Fortune by Edward Marston. Captain Rawson (1st).

Murder Melts in Your Mouth by Nancy Martin. Blackbird Sisters (7th).

Notorious by Michele Martinez. Melanie Vargas (4th).

Close Call by John McEvoy. Jack Doyle (2nd). Scheduled to be reviewed by .

The Iron Tongue of Midnight by Beverle Graves Myers. Tito Amato (4th). Scheduled to be reviewed by .

The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny. Armand Gamache (3rd).

Buckingham Palace Gardens by Anne Perry. Thomas Pitt (25th).

Knock 'em Dead by Rhonda Pollero. Finley Anderson Tanner (2nd).

Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson. Alan Banks (17th). Scheduled to be reviewed by .

Dead Heat by Joel C. Rosenberg. Jon Bennett and Erin McCoy (5th).

Miss Julia Paints the Town by Ann B. Ross. Julia Springer, Miss Julia (9th).

The Law of Second Chances by James Sheehan. Jack Tobin (2nd).

The Orpheus Deception by David Stone. Micah Dalton (2nd).

Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh. Nathan Weiss (2nd).

Black Widow by Randy Wayne White. Doc Ford (15th).

Dead Time by Stephen White. Alan Gregory (16th).

For more information on any of these titles, please visit the page on our website. If you're interested in new paperbacks, visit where you can discover a library of new mysteries.

Please visit the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books where we are committed to providing readers and collectors of with the best and most current information about their favorite authors, titles, and series.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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