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Calumet City: A Novel Paperback – March 4, 2008

48 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Confrontational and uncompromising Patti Black, Chicago's most decorated cop, gets caught in a web of murder and betrayal in Newton's searing debut. When several unrelated cases threaten to reveal her horrific childhood as an abused runaway and teenage rape victim, Patti defies everybody to find Roland Ganz, her bête noir, who she suspects is behind the crimes; she must also locate the son she put up for adoption whom she thinks Roland is seeking. Accompanied by her sometime friend and rugby teammate, newspaper reporter Tracy Moens, she frantically follows a trail from Chicago to nearby Calumet City, the Arizona desert and back. The surprise ending includes a search on a houseboat moored on Lake Michigan during a tornado as well as a shootout in the depths of a disintegrating slum building. Newton, who based his heroine's character on a real Chicago police officer, creates a netherworld full of violent and duplicitous people. Pacing is all but absent amid the unrelenting action of the repetitive narrative. (Mar.)
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"A terrific modern noir on a raw Chicago cityscape harboring too many untold stories. If you try to set it down, this book will kick you in the teeth." -- Kevin Guilfoile, author of the Chicago Tribune bestseller Cast of Shadows

"A powerhouse debut. Packed with nonstop action and searing emotion, written in blistering prose, Calumet City marks Charlie Newton as a new force in suspense fiction." -- Jeff Abbott, author of Fear and Panic

"The best cop noir in years." -- Lee Child, author of Bad Luck and Trouble

"...those who relish tortured heroines, unrelenting intensity, and full-throttle races will snatch this one up." -Booklist, starred review

"Newton's absorbing debut novel...A galloping ride from first page to last."--Kirkus 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

"Newton's version of Patti Black is a potent mix of pain and toughness, vulnerability and adrenalin that anchors the book any time it threatens to careen out of control. She may be too damaged to return, but here's hoping for more from Newton." -- Baltimore Sun

"Raw, heart-pounding, adrenalin-producing fiction doesn't get much better than this." -- Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 388 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Original edition (March 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416533222
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416533221
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,850,944 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Dennis M. Banahan on March 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Approximately seven years ago, Charlie Newton contacted me and asked for a little technical advice on a manuscript he had just written about a series of murders occurring in Chicago's Rush Street area. Now, on several previous occasions, other aspiring writers had asked me to review their manuscripts and, quite honestly, some of them were harder to choke down than a large bowl of undercooked chitterlings. But I couldn't put Charlie Newton's manuscript down. And, here's the good news, that manuscript was NOT "Calument City". In fact, Charlie Newton has written six novels in between that first novel and "Calumet City", one better than the other. I'd be hard pressed to say which one I like best. Nobody in the business, bar none, writes an action scene like Charlie Newton. If you like police fiction, you'll love "Calumet City", and when you're done reading it, you'll be clamoring for the release of one of the other seven novels Charlie Newton has in the oven.
Lt. Dennis Banahan (retired)
Chicago Police Department
Author of "Threshold of Pain"
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22 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
People I respect such as Lee Child and Jeff Abbott gave this book high praise. When I concentrate on Charlie Newton's writing alone, I can agree with them. Newton is a solid writer, though his faux noir style becomes grating over time. The talent is there, but it clearly needs to be polished.

Evaluating the plot and characters, though, leads me to a different place. I didn't find the plot compelling or persuasive and the characters struck me as lacking depth and credibility.

Patti Black is supposedly Chicago's most decorated police officer. Too much is made of the character's being a woman. She spends way too much time engaging in machismo posturing that adds nothing to the story.

A career officer, Black is hiding a horrible story of being orphaned when her alcoholic parents die in a car wreck and being abused by foster parents, carrying the child of her foster father. The child is taken from her. Supposedly the foster father died a couple of decades back - supposedly. A raid on a gang turns deadly and Patti learns that a skeleton in the wall of a neighboring building is that of her foster mother. Than an assistant State's Attorney is kidnapped. Just happens that the guy is Patti's foster brother. Next an imprisoned murderer asks for Patti to visit him. Gee golly, it's a reunion. He too is from the foster home.

All of it is more than too much. Patti is frightened of being found out for her youthful sins, wants to reclaim her long lost son, has an aggressive and utterly unconvincing FBI agent on her case and so on.

If Charlie Newton had left out about half his plot, he would have produced a novel four times better, in my opinion. Newton's writing is strong, but not strong enough to carry the Byzantine plot.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jack Bippus on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Newton's writing is so disjointed and difficult to follow that I put the book down and started another. Rather than gripping this book was irritating and off-putting.

Newton's style may work for some but not for me.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By michael a. draper VINE VOICE on March 18, 2009
Format: Paperback
Patti Black is a hard nosed Chicago cop. She is part of a unit assigned to raid a home to recover stolen merchandise. The home is located in a seedy section of the city and when the cops order the inhabitants to open the door, the police are met with machine gun fire and two police officers are wounded. Patti returns fire and kills two shooters who were teenagers.

In the basement of the building they find a body buried long ago. From this we learn the story of a foster home where children were abused and Patti had been a foster child who had been abused until she ran away at age 16.

After the shooting, Patti goes to the station and makes her report, unfased by the shooting, she then goes home, changes clothes and goes to practice with her rugby team "Go ahead...make my day."

When someone tries to shoot mayor Quinn and his wife, the police commissioner knows that the next person in line for the mayor's job is Alderman Leslie Gibbons, who is black. The commissioner asks Patti to try to get a feel for what the black community is thinking which she does but gets in trouble when she sees the mother of one of the teenagers she killed and she tries to express her condolences to the teenager's mother.
The alderman tries to make Patti look bad but the newspapers praise her as a hero for saving the other policemen from the machine gun fire.

Now someone puts a hit on Patti and he wants to kill her son, who few people know about and is the product of the years of rape in the foster home. Patti had put her son up for adoption after his birth.

She now believes that Roland Ganz, the man who raped her and destroyed her youth, is still living and wants to kill her and her son.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joanne Hichens on March 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
I stumbled on this by accident in the book store. I remembered the name Charlie Newton as an aspiring author I'd met at the Cape Town Book Fair in South Africa in 2006, when my own co-authored novel Out To Score was published. Charlie was still working on Calumet City at this stage (I think it was this novel - he seems to have a whole lot of others up his sleeve!) so when I saw it had been published I bought the book. I responded to Patti Black from the first pages, recognized in her a compassionate woman with balls - the way I like `em. This is a cop who's larger than life, with heart, and brains, and I clicked with her immediately. And her history of abuse at the hands of evil Roland Ganz is fascinating and harrowing material indeed. To have Patti Black's nightmarish foster-home experiences linked so cleverly with an assassination attempt against a city mayor, and a state's attorney's murder - and what a gruesome one it is, too - plus myriad other twists and turns, makes for exciting reading. I felt as if I was right there with Patti though her various ordeals, and there are plenty for those of us that like a fast pace and bold action. I get a thrill from being swept away by a new, strong voice, and it's what I'm always on the lookout for, especially in first novels. That's me, a debut-novel junkie! I can usually tell from the debut if I'll watch out for more on the shelves from a particular author. I liked Calumet City so much, in fact, I went to the effort of tracing Charlie Newton's email address and telling him so myself!
Good stuff! Can't wait for more!
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