cover image Children of Chicago

Children of Chicago

Cynthia Pelayo. Polis, $26 (320p) ISBN 978-1-951709-20-4

When Chicago PD homicide cop Lauren Medina, the protagonist of this impressive crime novel from Pelayo (Santa Muerte), was 14, her nine-year-old sister, Marie, was found drowned in a lagoon in Humboldt Park, a victim of suspected foul play. Marie’s ghost has since haunted Medina, who blames herself, as she was responsible for picking up Marie after school the day of the tragedy, but didn’t wait for her. The mystery of Marie’s death is revived after Medina’s called to the scene of the fatal shooting of Hadiya, a high school senior, above whose body someone wrote “Pied Piper” on a wall. Medina was mesmerized by the fairy tale when she was younger, and is horrified to learn that some who knew Hadiya believe that she was killed by the Pied Piper after his murderous spirit was summoned to claim her life. More people die before the dark truth about Marie’s death emerges. Pelayo masterfully ratchets up the tension and the scares. Robert McCammon fans will be pleased. Agent: Amy Brewer, Metamorphosis Literary. (Feb.)