Thursday, December 6, 2012

Chicago Stories: West of Western by Eileen Hamer

Book Blurb:
One wounded ex-Marine starting a new life as an architect in Chicago. An abandoned workshop west of Western Avenue. Smashed windows, death threats, a dead body on the doorstep and a crazed ex-nun next door. A mysterious Ukrainian, a principled gang leader, a 350 lb Haitian baritone. Bodies in a vacant lot. A secret garden, actors living in a church, a pregnant teenager dying in a back room. Looking for a home, architect Seraphy Pelligrini hunts a killer in a neighborhood on the verge of change.

My review:
I love stories that have a tough female protagonist. This is one of those stories.  Seraphy's had a rough life. She grew up privileged, but lost her fiance to a bullet at a young age, then she joined the Marines and wound up going to war, followed by a stint in Blackpool where she was blown up and left with some pretty bad scars, both physically and emotionally.

Now she's set up house in a rundown, gang-ridden neighborhood. She's determined not to leave, but she needs to find a way to survive and make this place her home. 

It's a sometimes dark and gritty tale, but it has heart too. A huge thumbs up for the debut novel of this author.

About the author:
Eileen Hamer has not really publicly shared much information about herself to date, but she does have a website you are welcome to peruse. 

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