Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: A Thomas Dunne book for
St. Martin's Minotaur
(November 14, 2006)
A strange letter arrives at Crystal Waters, one of Chicago's wealthiest gated communities. It reads likes extortion, but threatens nothing specific, gives no instructions, demands only that $50,000 be gotten ready -- chump change for an enclave where the cheapest house is worth three million. It's easy to see it as the sort of rant that sometimes shows up in the mail of rich people -- harmless, a note from a nut.
But then a mansion explodes.
The homeowners panic, want it hushed. If word gets out that a bomb-planting extortionist is targeting Crystal Waters, their homes will become worthless overnight, sure catastrophe to people who've borrowed too heavily to live the good life. Publicly, they pass the explosions off as a gas leak. Privately, they instruct the Bohemian, their shadowy retainer, to hire Dek Elstrom to investigate. Dek Elstrom used to soar high, lived with his multi-millionaire wife at Crystal Waters. That was before his reputation got trashed and his business got ruined. And before his wife threw him out. Now bankrupt of everything but attitude and a lingering love for his ex-wife, he's living in a gamy tank town just west of the city, trying to rehab a stone turret. And his life.He takes the case, quickly learns that the letter is old, written decades before. Learns that the explosives were old, too, last manufactured for use in Vietnam. He probes deeper, discovers something else that's old: Secrets, long buried by the homeowners at Crystal Waters.Another bomb goes off. As Dek races to stop the explosions, the profile of the bomber becomes clear: An angry man. A ruined man, with nothing to lose. A man who intimately knows Crystal Waters. Motive, means, opportunity.
Dek Elstrom is his own best suspect.
"Smartly plotted, briskly paced and laced with humor, this accomplished first marks Fredrickson as a mystery writer to watch." - Publishers Weekly - (Starred Review)
"In this taut mystery, Fredrickson takes readers into the world of Chicago's wealthiest citizens . . . Written in a humorous style similar to that of Florida writer Lawrence Shames and featuring an Elmore Leonard-like eye for detail, this is a promising new series." - Library Journal
"Very cleverly written, intelligent and funny, Mr. Fredrickson's novel is filled with smart dialogue and appealingly skewed characters." - Dallas Morning News
"With a first-rate plot, snappy dialogue, a keen sense of humor and a wealth of Chicago color, Fredrickson fashions a fun novel and establishes himself as an author to watch." - Richmond Times-Dispatch
" . . . expressive prose and an ingratiating protagonist with wit, style and courage. First of a series that could become quite good." - Kirkus Reviews
"Fredrickson has created an engaging new detective in this funny, hard-boiled story that will appeal to readers who enjoy Robert B. Parker's Spenser." - Booklist
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