Dark Hearts of Chicago

Written by Helen Rappaport William Horwood
Review by Patrika Salmon

Dark indeed. This 1893 version of Chicago is a thoroughly unpleasant place, violent, racist, sexist and corrupt, both politically and morally. Helen Rappaport and William Horwood have researched the city in depth and present it as one of the characters in an engrossing thriller. From the Cook County Insane Asylum to the giant Meat Packing companies, the threads of the story spread across the city, involving characters ranging from politicians to bell boys.

Emily Strauss, who wants to be a reporter of real news, not the women’s page, tricks Joseph Pulitzer into letting her write a trial story, but she has to have it in the office in only nine days. She is sent to the World Fair in Chicago to find out why so many young women are vanishing there. The story snowballs, with many dramatic twists and turns, pulling all those disparate threads together to a sizzling and unexpected ending.

This well written and well researched thriller is one of a planned series following Emily’s career. If the others are as good then they will be worth reading.