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Publisher's Summary

Among the most self-assured and sharply crafted debuts in recent years, Calumet City detonates a Molotov cocktail of character-driven suspense and ghetto-Chicago intrigue.

Meet Patti Black, the most decorated cop in Chicago. On her ghetto beat, Patti Black redefines the word badass. But her steel-plated exterior - solitary, stoic, loveless - belies the wrenching legacy of her orphaned childhood. Haunted by the horrifying abuse she suffered at the hands of her foster parents, Patti Black sublimates past torments into a meticulously maintained tough-gal persona.

When a series of unrelated cases - a drug bust gone bad, a mayoral assassination attempt, the murder of a state attorney, the exhumation of a long-concealed body from a tenement basement wall -- all point in Patti Black's direction, she finds herself facing the dark truth: You can't hide from your history, no matter how far into the fog you run. For Patti Black, that history didn't die in the tenement wall; it's alive -- and riding her down.

In researching this electrifying thriller, Charlie Newton rode in the squad car with real-life street cop Patti Black. The result is a powerful fiction debut that captures the precise emotional landscape of one cop's hard-bitten life in the trenches. This first-time author joins that rare breed whose fiction is suffused with profound authenticity

©2008 Charlie Newton; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"An atmospheric shocker...Newton certainly has all the hallmarks and above all the classic noir tone -- urban and nocturnal, stealthy and smoky, grim determination doing its two-step with gallows humor." (Chicago Sun Times)
"The best cop noir in years." (Lee Child)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Snoodely
  • Santa Barbara, CA United States
  • 01-17-10

Lee Child owes me 15 hrs. & 15 bucks

I bought this audiobook solely on Lee Child's recommendation. I love Lee Child's novels, so I figured that anything he praised I would like. Wrong. This novel tells a highly unlikely story without the panache that allows me to suspend disbelief. The protagonist, Patti Black -- presumably a tough, street-hardened Chicago cop -- goes through the book in an almost constant state of hysteria. I had trouble buying that Chicago's most decorated cop would keep losing control of her emotions with each successive event. Books like this re-affirm my conviction that men shouldn't try to write novels with female protagonists. Lee Child, you have let me down and cost me money.

61 of 62 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • 9S
  • 11-09-09


Ugh. Patti Black is a decorated veteran of the Chicago PD. Patti Black is also some kind of wonder human. In the first hour she kills some gang bangers, saves an apartment building full of people from a fire, discovers a dead body in same building and..forget it. During the next few hours of the book she is nearly killed at least 4 times, she is summoned to meet the commissioner(several times), saves a fellow officers life and becomes a parody of a super cop. If these things aren't enough we find out she has a teen son(who she gave up for adoption), he is being threatened by some gangsters to get her into line. But of course Human Services will not even think of letting the adoptive family know of the danger. I am tired of reviewing this absurd story. The main character performs some super-human act every few minutes, and this makes the tale absurd. Don't pay attention to those lobotomized reviewers at Amazon, they don't understand how bad this story is.

72 of 75 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Lee Child should be much more careful as to whom he attaches his star. The actual 15 or so hours it took to get through this dog felt a lot like 61.....days. The inmates are certainly running this asylum. I do not know where to begin, as this book is so flawed, so poorly written and ineptly edited that I surprised myself by getting through it.
Newton has taken a tired old premise and filled it chock full of implausible, undeveloped characters, all the while beating a psychoses laden drum at a pace that would put Ginger Baker to shame. If a crescendo, per Webster, is the peak of a gradual increase, what then is a prolonged peak taken ad nauseam.
For a bit I thought it was intended to be a parody of sorts, Mad Max meets Lethal Weapon MCMLCVIII meets methamphetamine hydrochloride directed by David Lynch. A multi-dialectic scream-fest with unbelievable characters which included a gratuitous member or two of an obscure tribe of Native Americans. A kind of Wayne's World does lesbian Cops and Robbers shoot-em-up. And Guilt by the bucketful with a pinch of sports fan.
Even Reacher would have caught the first bus out of town after getting an earful of Ms. Black (aka Wonder-Woman). Lee, you should read these things before signing your reputation away.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Painful to listen

I've never been public about disappointment in a book BUT there is a first time for everything. I am having trouble sorting out if it was the over the top, angst ridden narrator who annoyed me or the plot. Frankly, I did not remotely care if Patty got killed or busted. So many killings with so little meaning and all the angst & shouting.
To be fair I would likely give the author another look at next book, if there would be one. But I'm pretty sure the narrator put me off so I would avoid her. And yeah, Lee Child owes me a credit!

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Brenda
  • CENTRAL POINT, OR, United States
  • 01-01-12

Pretty Rough

Rough story, graphic and dark. I found it too dark and disturbing to be enjoyable. The Reading was good and the characterization was gripping but the story did no leave me with any feel-good factor at all.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Christine
  • Richmond, VA, United States
  • 01-21-10


I also selected this book because of Lee Childs' endorsement. I couldn't get past the reader's performance. I found her voice too breathy and unlikely for the character. The narrative was like a taffy pull. I gave up after an hour. I didn't look forward to the hours of commitment ahead. I'm pretty cheap, so giving up on a book that I paid good money for should tell you something!

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Riles
  • Murrayville, GA, United States
  • 04-24-11


I cant beleive the endorsment from Lee Childs, (must be friends) The main character was so DUMB,so CLUMSY that it was obnoxious. I was more surprised that Mr.Childs would give a thumbs up on this terrible read

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Waaaaaay too much mindless thrashing

I listened to about the first two thirds of this book before I finally got tired of it and gave up. This is one of those books where the main character takes a stupid pill and never recovers. At every turn, she is either mindlessly firing her gun without first identifying the target, driving her car like a maniac, punching her friends in the face, or basically refusing to act like a normal human being. Up to the point where I gave up, I don't think she had made a single reasonable decision, even allowing for the fact that she was supposed to be damaged by abuse as a child. My advice: take a pass on this one.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Laura
  • Fillmore, CA, United States
  • 02-08-10

Really Disappointing

This is probably the worst book I have ever finished. The main character Patty Black is unlikable and grating and whiny. She keeps the desperate secret from those around her and as the book progressed I couldn't figure out why these people would continue to be supportive. Sonny was an enjoyable character but I failed to see what his attraction was to one who lied to him the entire book. Patty's best friend the reporter wasn't someone that I would call a friend. The book has been compared to Lee Child books. The only similarity would be the unbelievability. But at least with Jack Reacher novels you are cheering Reacher on and enjoying his humor and wry wit. The depth of Reacher's character holds you and you are willing to suspend belief just to make sure that Reacher gets the bad guys. This book does not develop Patty Black in ways that you really want to know what's going to happen next.

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Will read reviews in future

I should have read the other reviews and abstained from buying this. Ladylike voice for nothing but violence and unlikely story.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful