Sunday, July 17, 2022

BOTW: mysterious teens, now and then


Private investigator V. I Warshawski -- better-known as Vic -- is, as usual, supposed to be working for her paying customers when she gets caught up in a complicated series of coincidences. While out running she hears a cry for help and discovers a teenaged girl wedged in the rocks of the breakwater along Lake Michigan.  The girl is taken to the nearest hospital where she is treated -- and from which she disappears.  Finding the girl entangles Vic in a web of intrigue. Vic can never leave her south side neighborhood behind as this new case proves.  It involves a synagogue in Rogers Park, a crumbling mansion on Goose Island, and a nursing home scam on the North Shore.  Chicagoans (and former Chicagoans) will enjoy the local references and all readers root for Vic's strong sense of justice.  

P.S. The setting is current -- that is, 2021, with Covid as a part of everyday life.  It will be interesting to see how other novelists will incorporate this new normal, whether in series or stand-alone.

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I got the ARC of Kevin Wilson's new novel at the ALA conference in June.  It will be published in November. 

"The edge is a shantytown, filled with gold seekers.  We are fugitives, and the law is skinny with hunger for us."

In the summer of 1996 posters with this mysterious message were plastered all over Coalfield, Kentucky.  What did it mean? Who was behind it and what was their intent?  Everyone had a theory.  National news outlets took notice.   There were sermons, t-shirts, shootings, fires, and an accidental death.  It went as viral as something could in the days before the ubiquity of the internet.

In 2017 Frankie Budge recalls that summer when she was 16. She and her new friend Zeke came up with an antidote for their boredom.   Zeke drew a picture of houses and  a pair of giant hands. Frankie wrote the first words that pop into mind:  "The edge is a shantytown . . ."  And the rest became history. 

Are our long-held secrets truly secrets?  How does the passage of years change the importance of events in our lives?   Kevin Wilson's coming-of-age story is memorable.

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