cover image Suitcase Charlie

Suitcase Charlie

John Guzlowski. Kasva, $14.95 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-948403-04-7

James Ellroy fans will appreciate this grim portrayal of the hunt for a serial killer, poet Guzlowski’s first novel. On the night of May 30, 1956, homicide detectives Hank Purcell and Marvin Bondarowicz arrive at a crime scene in a busy Chicago neighborhood. Inside a large brown suitcase lying open on the sidewalk is the naked body of a nine-year-old boy. Seven months earlier, the naked bodies of three boys—ages 14, 13, and 11—were found in a ditch outside the city, and this could be the work of the same fiend. Hank and Marvin immediately start talking to people in the neighborhood who might have seen anything. Eventually, the police arrest a man carrying two suitcases, each of which contains the naked body of a young boy. Despite the strong circumstantial evidence, Hank and Marvin have their doubts that they have the killer. Guzlowski’s credible depiction of his cop leads, who believe in administrating their own brand of justice, compensates for the straightforward whodunit plotline. (Dec.)