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Crimes of the Levee

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

Patrick Moses hasn't had an easy life. An orphan infant who grew up to be a tough police detective, he lost his wife and children to tragedy. Throwing himself into his job, he and his partner, Gunter Krause have managed to catch Chicago's infamous serial killer, Dr. Simon Kluge, and see him hanged. Then Moses's life begins to get really interesting.

He and Krause are assigned the task of locating a missing girl, Isabella Rossini, the niece of the Italian Ambassador who has been presumably kidnapped and placed into the teeming white slavery trade in the Levee District of Chicago. On the side, Moses is approached by the famed retailer giant Marshall Field, whose son, Marshall Field, Jr. died of a gunshot wound a few months before. Although the elder Field pressed to have the case closed quickly as an accident, now he wants to know what really happened to his son. Last, but certainly not least, Moses begins to receive strange "gifts" left on his doorstep, key items to the Kluge case which lead him to believe they may have made a mistake.

To complicate matters, their investigation causes them to step on the toes of Chicago's two leading alderman, "Hinky Dink" Kenna and "Bathhouse" John Coughlin, who run the Levee District with an iron hand. Moses is warned by his sometimes girlfriend, Eleanor, a high end prostitute, that he is making some very powerful and dangerous men angry, but the drive to find and rescue Isabella Rossini before she disappears forever has blinded Moses. As his two investigations begin to cross paths and all of his leads begin mysteriously and violently dying around him, he feels the walls closing in, and when someone close to him passes away, it throws him over the brink.

I was very interested to read Crimes of the Levee because it seemed to be based upon actual events that occurred in Chicago in the early 1900's. In doing some research, the death of Marshall Field, Jr. was quite mysterious and all of the Levee District locations and many of the book's players were actual people. It is sort of a "what if it happened this way?" book. It is an interesting read, but I found the ending left me with more questions than answers, so I didn't like the fact that it left the reader hanging, with conclusions to only two of the three mysteries contained within the story. There are also places where the book reads in colloquialisms, in other words, quoted passages meant to intentionally reflect bad grammar or local speech patterns, "Know what I'm sayin' here?" for instance. However, there were also typos such as places where a completely different word was used instead of the intended word, such as "He opened or his door" instead of "He opened up his door," something that should have been caught by the book's editor, so it made some portions of the book difficult to read.

If you have an interest in the death of Marshall Field, Jr., one of Chicago's ongoing local mysteries, check out Crimes of the Levee, but go into it realizing that you may be left with some questions regarding the end of the book. You will just have to patiently wait for John Sturgeon's next book to get your answers.

-Psibabe, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ashley Perkins

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