In the 10th book in the series, Chicago Police Detective Paul Turner and his partner Buck Fenwick are struggling to survive a brutal heat wave when they are assigned to investigate the murder of a fellow Police Officer.
Officer Trent Belger was no one’s idea of a model officer but the case is a political hand grenade. First, Belger had testified against his long-time partner in a brutality case. The boys in blue are quick to respond when a fellow officer is injured or killed but they have no fondness for officers who break the code of silence. In this case, many of Belger’s brother officers are potential suspects. Not only can Turner & Fenwick expect little cooperation, they need to watch their backs.
The second reason the case requires swift resolution is because of the way Belger died. He was found in the basement of an abandoned train station, currently home to the Black and Blue Party; a large private party promoted to Chicago’s Leather and S&M community. The body was dressed for the event, had been whipped, and was found penetrated by sex toys. Was Belger gay? Is his killer? Or is someone trying to divert suspicion by focusing attention on the gay community? It is an interesting story of murder and police corruption set against the backdrop of Chicago’s S&m subculture.
As always, the characters in Zubro’s book are well drawn and his descriptions of Chicago, especially gay Chicago, lend verisimilitude. The action takes place over a short time span which adds to the sense of excitement and urgency. The police corruption angle is familiar territory in the age of Law & Order but it is convincingly created here. The S&M content is more referential than graphic so it is unlikely there is anything here to offend even the most conservative readers
Full disclosure: I have the pleasure of knowing the author socially. He is charming and witty and we share a fondness for a particular Danish pastry from bakeries in Racine, Wisconsin. I can’t think of better reasons for choosing a book.
Mark Zubro is the author of some two dozen detective novels featuring gay protagonists. The 11th novel in the Paul Turner series; Pawn of Satan was published in October, 2013.
His most recent book; Safe was published last month.
Black and Blue and Pretty Dead Too
by Mark Zubro
MLR Press 2011
Kindle Edition 329 pages