Third in the Smokey Dalton historical mystery series.

Publication year: 2004
Format: Audio
Running time: 13 hours and 16 minutes
Publisher: Audible
Narrator: Mirron Willis

Set in 1968 Chicago, the racial tensions are very high and when black people are murdered, the police don’t really investigate, just mark it as gang violence. Also, the Blackstone Rangers are recruiting black boys and rising in prominence.

Smokey Dalton is living under the assumed name of Bill Grimshaw and essentially he has adopted a young boy, Jimmy. Smokey was a black detective in Memphis before he and Jimmy had to flee to Chicago and he returns to his old profession, although without any official papers.

Mrs. Alice Foster asks Smokey to find out who killed her husband, a respectable dentist. Two young people found Foster’s body and when Smokey talks to them, he realizes that something is indeed strange. At the same time, Smokey’s love Laura Hathaway is trying to get control of the company which her father left behind. But the men in control don’t want her there. Laura is white so despite a strong mutual attraction she and Smokey have decided that they can’t be together. Also, the Blackstone Rangers are trying to get Jimmy to join them. Smokey and the local parents are looking for a way to keep their kids away from the gang.

There are a lot of things going on in this book but they’re unified by the central theme: racism and the way the blacks were treated. This is not an easy read but I think it’s an excellent portrayal of the times.

The reader is great. His rich voice suits Smokey and the series very well.