Theresa Schwegel Critic's Choice Free Recommended

When: Thu., Aug. 6, 6 p.m. 2009

Detective Sloane Pearson, the heroine of Theresa Schwegel's engaging fourth novel, Last Known Address (Minotaur), has a lot on her mind. Her father, who raised her alone after her mother died, is having heart problems. She's thinking of leaving her longtime boyfriend, a Chicago cop. And she doesn't have many leads to follow as she tries to track down a serial rapist. But the creep does have an MO: he urges his victims to fight back. As Pearson digs deeper into the case, she comes to think the rapist may have ties to a shady development company that's seeking money from (paging Ben Joravsky) a Humboldt Park TIF fund, with aldermanic support. Then the alderman's young, female attorney is found dead on the Bloomingdale Trail, and Pearson has more than a rape case on her hands. Schwegel, an Edgar Award winner for her 2005 debut, Officer Down, hasn't yet enjoyed the plaudits that fellow local crime writer Marcus Sakey has (see Kathie Bergquist's Critic's Choice this week), but she deserves 'em. Her plots are compelling, and her lead characters have rich inner lives. --Jerome Ludwig

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