Death in Uptown

Michael Raleigh, Author St. Martin's Press $17.95 (247p) ISBN 978-0-312-05849-4
The vividly realized setting of this impressive first mystery is Uptown, an ethnically diverse Chicago neighborhood peopled with winos, street preachers, students, derelicts in doorways, juvenile gangs, Iranians, Greeks, Koreans, Mexicans, Pakistanis and other citizens of the world. Nice-guy private eye Paul Whelan is an Uptown native who avoids violence when he can, uses fists when he must, and often defuses incendiary situations by establishing common ground with very unlikely types. Although Whelan's speciality is tracking missing persons, he isn't having any luck locating a young would-be construction worker who has disappeared from the YMCA. But there's progress in his other quest, cracking the murder of an old friend, an alcoholic ex-newspaperman found bashed to death in an alley. Eventually he makes a key deduction that breaks both cases. Raleigh dishes up a slew of characters here, and even those who appear only in passing are named, causing some confusion but also lending verisimilitude. Graphic descriptions and just enough action make this a promising debut. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/29/1991
Release date: 08/01/1991
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