Chicago has been chosen as the Olympic city of 2016. The action begins in the gang dominated neighborhood known as Four Corners. Two brothers, Ruben and Bobby Vargas grew up there and enter the police department.
Coleen Brennan was an Irish girl who befriended Bobby Vargas, who was Spanish. By the sixth grade they were boyfriend and girlfriend. His worst day was when Coleen was murdered when she was thirteen. Coleen was white and Bobby wasn't and their friendship was a dangerous thing in the race rules of Four Corners.
One day, the "Chicago Herald" runs an expose where they imply that in days to come, it would prove that Bobby and Ruben were the two boys who killed Coleen.
The story moves quickly with an interesting literary style with chapter's beginning with portions of the newspaper expose and then describing the actions of the current day. Coleen's murder is said to be a reprisal for racist policing but there is a question if she was raped to death as part of a gang initation.
Anton Dupree was arrested, found guilty of the murder and executed. His family is suing the city for wrongful execution claiming that Anton was of low intelligence and manipulated into confessing.
With the existing political climate, Bobby fears that the city will settle the suit and that he and his brother will be fired and face civil action.
There are a number of levels to the story which is told in a darkly realistic manner that has a momentum of its own. We learn that there was certain activity in Japan during WWII and that some of these actions should have resulted in criminal prosecution. Currently, representatives associated with that criminal activity is influential in financing the Olympics. Coleen's twin sister, Arleen, returns to the city and she and Bobby become romantically involved. However, Bobby is accused of certain things and the reader wonders how he will prove his innocence.
The talented author, Charlie Newton, who has been nominated for literary awards, provides the reader with a look at a section of the city life filled with gangs and drugs described so realistically that it causes the reader to gasp.
There is excellent dialogue and the writing moves across the pages effortlessly. Bobby Vargas is that type of protagonist that we enjoy reading about, he's brave, fearless and honorable and the center of an excellent novel.
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