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Calumet City: A Novel Paperback – March 4, 2008

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Paperback, March 4, 2008
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--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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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 (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,993,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

The characters are vibrant and disturbing.
I can not wait to read more by this autor whom I understand this being his 1st book, great book I recomended to everyone who is intrested in a great suspense novel!
William L. Owens
Calumet City is well written, fast-paced and suspenseful.
Kevin D. Miller

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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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Saperstein HALL OF FAMETOP 500 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
It has been almost two decades since Patti Black ran from her foster home in Calumet City. Her life with her foster parents was torturous, a chamber of horrors; that led to her drinking as a teen to forget the atrocities. After running away she eventually got her act together and has been a Chicago police officer. She is the most decorated cop in the city and in line to a promotion to detective. Her world starts to implode when she and her crew enter a gasoline soaked apartment where she finds walled inside the ruins the remains of her foster mother.

State Assistant District Attorney Richard Rhodes is a former foster child raised in that nightmarish home. Soon it is discovered that the mayor's wife owned the house where Patti's foster mom was "buried". Too many clues lead back to Patti. CPD crime investigators and Internal Affairs, and the FBI want to interrogate Patti, but she is not talking to anyone. Instead she is on the road seeking her foster father who she thought was dead before he can find their son.

This is a dark gritty police procedural in which the protagonist is haunted by demons from her past despite putting on a tough presence in front of her peers or gangbangers. There are plenty of action and chase scenes, but the tale is owned by the fully developed Patti. Readers feel as if they know her yet lingering doubts persist re her innocence while also rooting for her to finally confront the demons that are devouring her mind.

Harriet Klausner
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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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