Reading List Shortlist – Mystery
The Lefty Awards
Best Debut Mystery Novel
Former cop Cass Raines has found the world of private investigation a less stressful way to eke out a living in the Windy City. But when she stumbles across the dead body of a respected member of the community, it’s up to her to prove a murderer is on the loose...
Cops can make mistakes, even when they’re not rookies. If anyone knows that it’s Cass Raines, who took a bullet two years ago after an incompetent colleague screwed up a tense confrontation with an armed suspect. Deeply traumatized by the incident, Cass resigned from the Chicago PD, leaving one less female African-American on the force. Now she’s the head of a one-woman private investigation agency, taking on just enough work to pay the bills. She spends the rest of her time keeping an eye on the tenants in her little Hyde Park apartment building, biking along the lakefront, and playing chess with the only father figure she’s ever known, Father Ray Heaton.
When Father Ray asks Cass to look into a recent spate of vandalism at his church, she readily agrees to handle the case. But only hours later she’s horrified to discover his murdered body in the church confessional, a dead gangbanger sprawled out nearby. She knew Pop, as she called him, had ticked off plenty of people, from slumlords to drug dealers and even some parishioners and politicians, with his uncompromising defense of the downtrodden. But a late-night random theft doesn’t seem like much of a motive at a cash-strapped parish like Saint Brendan’s.
The lead detective assigned to the case is all too ready to dismiss it as an interrupted burglary gone awry, just another statistic in a violent city. But Cass’s instincts tell her otherwise, and badge or no badge, she intends to see justice done . . .
Advance Praise For Tracy Clark And Broken Places
“Sara Paretsky meets Julia Spencer-Fleming in Tracy Clark’s Broken Places. Colorful characters zing to life against a vividly grim Chicago backdrop in this auspicious career-launcher. Broken Places is the breakout debut mystery of the year!”
—Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author
“Cass Raines is my favorite new private investigator. Broken Places takes you into a world where characters are the highest currency, wit is sharpened to a fine point, and the action makes your heart pound. A winning debut. Tracy Clark is one to watch.”
—Carlene O’Connor, author of Murder at an Irish Wedding
“Engrossing and superbly written—I can’t say enough good things about Broken Places!”
—Lisa Black, New York Times bestselling author of That Darkness and Unpunished