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About D. M. Pirrone
D.M. Pirrone is the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman, who works as a freelance editor and audiobook narrator when she isn't writing books. Her latest novel is PROMISES TO THE DEAD (Allium Press, August 2020), Book 3 in the Hanley & Rivka mystery series.
As Chicago recovers from the Great Fire of 1871, the Civil War still haunts its residents. What begins for Detective Frank Hanley as the simple case of a missing railroad clerk quickly escalates into something much more complex. Ezra Hayes, who has made a daring escape from forced servitude on a Louisiana sugar plantation, brings to Chicago proof of nefarious doings in the South that implicates the missing clerk’s employer, a major shipper of sugar. As Hanley untangles the railroad’s role in the clerk’s disappearance, Rivka Kelmansky faces a personal struggle. Her brother is pressuring her to marry a young man from her tight-knit Jewish community, but she dreams of forging a new life with Hanley. When her mulatto sister-in-law is wrongfully accused of murder, Rivka turns to Hanley for help. With Ada's life in the balance, Hanley and Rivka fight opposition on multiple fronts to uncover the shocking truth.
Book 2 in the series, FOR YOU WERE STRANGERS (Allium Press, December 2015), begins when a former Civil War soldier is found slain in his bed with his own bayonet. The murder exposes secrets best left buried--among them a black man passing for white, an 1864 conspiracy to take over Chicago that still threatens powerful men, and a surviving Confederate guerrilla fighter unable to deal with a world turned upside down, with tragic consequences. Hanley and Rivka race against time to solve the killing, before the turbulent events of the recent past claim more victims.
Book 1, SHALL WE NOT REVENGE (Allium Press, 2014), takes place during the harsh winter of early 1872, when rookie Irish detective Francis (Frank) Hanley solves the brutal murder of a rabbi with an unexpected assist from the dead man's daughter, Rivka, but finds a much darker case than he bargained for that ultimately forces a reckoning with an enemy from his own checkered past.
Pirrone's debut mystery novel, NO LESS IN BLOOD, was published by Five Star/Cengage in 2011. A Chicago native, history buff and avid reader of just about anything, Ms. Piron-Gelman is a longtime member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime. She lives in Oak Park with her husband Stephen, her still-at-home son Isaac, and two African Sideneck turtles (Yertle and Lawrence).
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Their pursuit of the truth draws Rivka and Hanley closer together and leads them to a relief organization run by the city’s wealthy movers and shakers. Along the way, they uncover a web of political corruption, crooked cops, and well-buried ties to two notorious Irish thugs from Hanley’s checkered past. Even after he is kicked off the case, stripped of his badge, and thrown in jail, Hanley refuses to quit. With a personal vendetta to settle for an innocent life lost, he is determined to expose a complicated criminal scheme, not only for his own sake, but for Rivka’s as well.
Finalist for the ForeWord Reviews IndieFab Awards in the Mystery category
Named a Notable Book in the Page-Turners category by Shelf Unbound magazine
Honorable Mention in the Mystery category of the Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB awards, 2015
“engrossing…Pirrone dramatically highlights the racism, corruption, and greed that marked post–Civil War America through the travails of her heroic characters. Readers will hope to see more of Hanley and Rivka soon.” —Publishers Weekly
“A riveting historical novel whose exploration of hatred and prejudice will leave you shaking with anger”—Kirkus
Selected reviews for the series:
“A simply riveting combination of historical novel and detective mystery. A deftly crafted mystery/suspense thriller [that] clearly documents author D. M. Pirrone as a master of the genre.”—Midwest Book Review
"Multi-layered and nuanced…readers will be eager to follow Hanley and Rivka as their paths cross and diverge.”
—Historical Novels Review
This “deeply nuanced mystery is bolstered by fine writing and historical detail.” —Kirkus (starred review)
“A meticulously penned historical mystery [that] weaves complex characters into an intriguing plot." —Foreword Reviews
A “complex tale of hidden identities and motives” —Publishers Weekly
Shall We Not Revenge
In the harsh early winter months of 1872, while Chicago is still smoldering from the Great Fire, Irish Catholic detective Frank Hanley is assigned the case of a murdered Orthodox Jewish rabbi. His investigation proves difficult when the neighborhood’s Yiddish-speaking residents, wary of outsiders, are reluctant to talk. But when the rabbi’s headstrong daughter, Rivka, unexpectedly offers to help Hanley find her father’s killer, the detective receives much more than the break he was looking for. Their pursuit of the truth draws Rivka and Hanley closer together and leads them to a relief organization run by the city’s wealthy movers and shakers. Along the way, they uncover a web of political corruption, crooked cops, and well-buried ties to two notorious Irish thugs from Hanley’s checkered past. Even after he is kicked off the case, stripped of his badge, and thrown in jail, Hanley refuses to quit. With a personal vendetta to settle for an innocent life lost, he is determined to expose a complicated criminal scheme, not only for his own sake, but for Rivka’s as well.
For You Were Strangers
On a spring morning in 1872, former Civil War officer Ben Champion is discovered dead in his Chicago bedroom—a bayonet protruding from his back. What starts as a routine case for Detective Frank Hanley soon becomes anything but, as his investigation into Champion’s life turns up hidden truths best left buried. Meanwhile, Rivka Kelmansky’s long-lost brother, Aaron, arrives on her doorstep, along with his mulatto wife and son. Fugitives from an attack by night riders, Aaron and his family know too much about past actions that still threaten powerful men—defective guns provided to Union soldiers, and an 1864 conspiracy to establish Chicago as the capital of a Northwest Confederacy. Champion had his own connection to that conspiracy, along with ties to a former slave now passing as white and an escaped Confederate guerrilla bent on vengeance, any of which might have led to his death. Hanley and Rivka must untangle this web of circumstances, amid simmering hostilities still present seven years after the end of the Civil War, as they race against time to solve the murder, before the secrets of bygone days claim more victims.
"Partly set in a mysterious old house in the bleak far north as winter closes in and told from multiple points of view, both past and present, this fast-paced compelling story resolves both mysteries and ends on a hopeful note." --Sue O'Brien, Booklist
"Pirrone cleverly shifts between Mary Anne's tale and Rachel's search, creating a page-turner for fans of both history and mystery." --Kirkus Reviews
"An 1893 missing-person case has unexpected repercussions more than a century later in Pirrone's intriguing debut... Readers will hope to see more historical crime fiction from Pirrone, the nom de plume of Diane Piron-Gelman." --Publishers' Weekly