News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

A Chicago mystery

I’d been searching for a new author for months and couldn’t find one that kept me interested. Until I read Tracy Clark’s “Broken Places,” the first in her Chicago Mystery series. It’s made even better by knowing that Clark was born in Chicago and has lived there her entire life. She knows the streets, the personalities, and the types of characters that are all over the city.

Cass Raines is the lead detective in the Chicago Mystery series — she goes out on her own as a private detective after a tragic experience with the Chicago police department causes her to resign. She still has close friends in the police department and throughout the city, but when one of her best friends, Father Ray Heaton, is found murdered in his church, she knows she’ll have to get justice for him without full backing of law enforcement. The lead detective with the police department has been given a free ride on many transgressions in the past, but his decision to say the murder was strictly a burglary gone bad, without an in-depth investigation, is just wrong.

Cass digs into the harassment that Father Ray had been experiencing, plus vandalism at his church, and finds many possible candidates for the murder. He had always rubbed some people the wrong way by standing up for poor people and trying to help people who were being hurt by others with power and money but no morals. While she’s searching for the person who murdered him, she’s also recuperating from being shot on her last case with the police department, plus helping the tenants who rent the first and second floors of the apartment building she inherited from her grandparents who raised her.

As she gathers info on Father Ray’s death, she gets closer and closer to people who will stop at nothing to make sure she doesn’t find their secrets. You will meet a lot of characters in this first book of the series, but you’ll continue to get to know them even better in the next three books of the series: “Borrowed Time,” “What You Don’t See,” and “Runner.”

Tracy has also started a new series on Detective Harriet Foster. The first one is “Hide” with the second one, “Fall,” coming in December. Our Deschutes Public Library has all of her books, so you can request them online to be delivered to Sisters’ temporary library (or whichever library is closest to you). You can also drop by Paulina Springs Books in Sisters, and they’ll place the order for you.

Tracy Clark’s life story is very interesting too. Growing up in Chicago, she loved to read from the time she got her first book in hand. When several female authors hit the big time — Grafton, Paretsky, and more — she knew she wanted to write her own books. After completing college and grad school, she started a career in the newspaper business and continues to work that job plus write great books. She also helps others who are trying to get a jumpstart in writing their own books by conducting workshops and training sessions.

I’m counting down the days until December 5 when “Fall” is published!


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