cover image The Black Cage

The Black Cage

Jack Fredrickson. Severn, $29.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8916-4

This strong series launch from Fredrickson (the Dek Elstrom series) introduces Milo Rigg, once “Chicago’s premier crime reporter.” Now, thanks to his involvement in a recent scandal, Milo has been reduced to writing “non-news, uncredited” for a small paper in a Chicago suburb. One cold, gray winter day, Milo happens to be in the neighborhood of a crime scene. The bodies of 15-year-old Beatrice Graves and her 12-year-old sister, Priscilla, have been thrown into a ravine. “They lay nude, like contorted marble mannequins, whiter than the melting snow.” The murders share certain similarities with a still unsolved case that occurred the year before. Milo is sure that the mishandling of evidence on the part of the sheriff and the medical examiner has let a murderer go free. While doggedly pursuing every lead, Milo must also deal with his grief over the death of his wife, who was shot “by a punk firing at someone else, or maybe just up in the air, in anger at the world.” Readers will look forward to spending more time with the complex, intriguing Milo. This skillfully crafted and richly nuanced crime novel bodes well for future entries. Agent: John Silbersack, Bent Agency. (Feb.)