What happens when the profession you’ve known all your adult life threatens to kill you, yet suffocating guilt and insatiable curiosity won’t let you walk away? That’s pretty much what happens to Deuce Mora, a columnist for the Chicago Journal, a big-city newspaper struggling to stay solvent in a world that seems to have outgrown newspapers and left them in ruin. What Deuce digs out of her “ideas” file is something that should be, at best, a human-interest story. The tale of an aging, low-level Chicago mobster living on beer, bourbon, and regret for the one mistake in his life that cost him everything. Deuce finds him in a Cicero bar late one afternoon, already drunk and resolute in his determination not to talk to her. Afraid for his safety in the boozy world he inhabits, Deuce gives him a ride home and thus seals his brutal fate. She is left with more guilt than she can shoulder, more curiosity than she can ignore, and in more danger than she can imagine. The mobster’s final words to her shove her into a world of political and criminal intrigue and confront her with a horrific crime more than 50 years old that she will either solve or die in the trying.
Meet the Author
JEAN HELLER: Some years ago, when my husband and I announced we were moving to a new city — our sixth move in ten years — my mother put her hands on her hips and said, only half in jest, “Can’t one of you hold a job?”
It wasn’t really a problem. We were both journalists, and we kept getting hired for better and better jobs, meaning we moved a lot. It’s actually a good way to avoid having to do heavy clean-outs of closets, basements, and those cabinets under the kitchen sink.
Several years ago, after a journalism career that led me across country and into stories that won lots of awards — a Robert F. Kennedy Award, a Polk Award, a Raymond F. Clapper Award, and eight Pulitzer nominations — I’ve settled in Chicago, a city with which I’ve had a life-long love affair.