Windy City Mysteries

In these mystery novels, investigators dive deep into Chicago’s neighborhoods to catch killers and solve crimes. Fast-paced, gritty, funny or all of the above, they give a strong sense of the city.

Runner is the fourth book in Tracy Clark’s outstanding Cass Raines series. Tough, sarcastic and fiercely independent, Cass is an ex-cop turned private investigator living in Hyde Park. She’s hired by a bereft mother to find her daughter who disappeared from foster care. As Cass delves into the mystery of Ramona’s disappearance, she discovers that sinister forces are at play and Ramona may have a very good reason to stay hidden.

In Clark and Division, Naomi Hirahara spins a moving historical mystery set in 1940s Chicago. Aki is a young Japanese American woman whose family is forcibly relocated to Chicago from the Manzanar internment camp in California. When the family arrives in Chicago eager to be reunited with Aki’s older sister Rose they discover she has died in an apparent suicide. The family settles into the neighborhood around Clark and Division and the courageous Aki sets out to find the truth about her sister’s death.

An oldie but a goodie, Indemnity Only is the first book in the famed V. I. Warshawski mystery series by Sara Paretsky. The tough former public defender turned private investigator lives in a messy apartment on the North Side. “Vic,” as she is known to her friends, receives an anonymous client in her run down South Loop office. He asks her to investigate the disappearance of his son’s girlfriend. But when Vic goes to investigate, she discovers the son is dead and her client is not who he claims to be.

Almost forty years later, V.I. Warshawski is still solving mysteries and fighting crime. In Dead Land, Vic is drawn into a web of mystery when she and goddaughter Bernie come across a famous singer-songwriter living under a viaduct on the lakefront and Bernie’s boyfriend ends up dead in the park. The multilayered investigation uncovers deep corruption and injustice in Chicago, stretching even to South America.

Officer Down by Theresa Schwegel won the Edgar Award for best first novel in 2006. When Chicago police officer Samantha Mack is blamed for her partner's death in a shootout, she starts her own investigation to track down the real killer. Sam is a tough, emotional and flawed character who stumbles but perseveres in her quest to clear her name.

In Liar, Liar by K.J. Larsen, private investigator Cat DeLuca and her canine sidekick, a beagle named Inga, zip around town in a silver Honda investigating cheating spouses for the Pants On Fire Detective Agency. A Bridgeport native, quirky Cat contends with her interfering Italian American cop family, who disapprove of her choice of professions. The first in a five-book series, this light-hearted novel is a fun read.

The Third Rail features ex-cop turned PI Michael Kelly, who’s called in to hunt down a spree killer terrorizing Chicago. The hunt turns personal when Kelly’s girlfriend is taken by the killer, and the truth slowly emerges out of traumatic events from his past. This hard-boiled thriller is the third in a five book series.

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