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    Review of WESTERFIELD'S CHAIN by Jack Clark

    Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Minotaur, November 2002

    Private detective Nick Acropolis specializes in clearing cops under investigation. As an ex-cop who fell foul of the investigating board himself, Nick doesn't have much love for the process--but he isn't blind enough to believe his clients aren't mostly guilty. As he investigates a strange story of a traffic accident and shooting involving a cop, Nick stumbles onto something larger. A drug store in the middle of a burned out neighborhood seems mostly deserted, but the records show that it does millions in business--supported by the government. Its owner has suddenly vanished, one of the workers is a murder victim, and the other employee is strangely willing to clear Nick's client's name.

    Almost against his will, Nick begins to investigate. The more he looks, the more he finds about the corruption of Chicago and Illinois state governments, welfare rackets, and bad police. Still, he can't seem to put the story into context. Something just isn't adding up and it might be him being set up to be the fall guy.

    Author Jack Clark writes with a clear and straightforward style and a well balanced mix of character development and plot to compell the reader forward. With the damage his background has done to him, Nick is compelling and sympathetic, even when he compromises on his own ethics. Clark's view of Chicago, still suffering from the damage done by the race riots of the 1960s and 1970s, rings true. The city becomes something of a character in the story--one with plenty of flaws and with its redeaming charm.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 1/05/03

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