Cold Blue Midnight by Ed Gorman

St. Martin’s (first), 1996

A bitter, blustery blizzard of a plot come whipping off the wintry waters of Lake Michigan, down the concrete canyons of the city and straight in your face. Evelyn Tappley, mother and matron of one of the wealthiest families in Chicago is determined to be the best mother in the world. Her first son died at seven months in a freak accident, and mommy has dedicated the rest of her life to making up for that one tragic slip. She is suffocatingly protective of her next two children; jealous to the point of madness of anyone who receives even a shred of their affections. On top of that, she is vindictive and ruthless in her persecution of daughter-in-law, photographer Jill Coffey, whom she holds solely responsible for the death of her only remaining son, Peter Tappley, who was executed as a serial killer. Six years later, Jill discovers that she is under surveillance by an unknown man in a blue Volvo. She is in the middle of an on again-off again affair with a married detective. She hires a kooky female detective to check up on the unknown man. Mother has hired the unknown man to provide the revenge she so desperately seeks. Jill finds herself the prime suspect in the death of her ex-partner, an ad agency mogul. The reader finds a corrupt attorney, a serial killer and a plot apparently headed in one direction only to discover that it is really going in several other directions, washed along by the possibility of the loss of multimillions and the reputations of some of Chicago’s Miracle-Mile elite. This complex narrative is served up with relish, flair and chutzpa; it is chock full of details, background, some exquisite minor characters, as well as other interesting asides, including a murderous nun. (Jim D Combs)

Originally published in Issue # 146 – January/February 1999

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