Crime Spree | Feature | Chicago Reader

Crime Spree 

Spring has sprung and mysteries are in the air.

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

Nice guy Steven Sidor plots violent thrillers so well he scares himself. Libby Fischer Hellmann's latest detective novel helped her cope with dark fears about her daughter's first year at a chichi north-suburban high school. And both Sharon Fiffer and Achy Obejas use the mystery form as a way to investigate a lost past—Obejas's in Cuba, Fiffer's in Kankakee. We may read their books to escape, but these Chicago area crime authors (and editor) work to engage.

The very fact that we've been able to assemble this diverse, successful group says something. Chicago's always been famous for crime, but not for making literature out of it. That was something they did on the coasts—a tradition established by masters like LA's Raymond Chandler and New York's Dashiell Hammett, each of whom made his city seem inextricable from the genre. Chicago's a writers' town, sure. But detective-story writers? Sara Paretsky, and who else? Scott Turow?

Now Paretsky's got company, as her membership in the Outfit, a crime writers' collective founded by Hellmann, attests. Let's not use the word "burgeoning" yet, but "healthy" doesn't seem out of line.

We did a little digging on a few local practitioners. Here's what we turned up on them. —Tony Adler

Support Independent Chicago Journalism: Join the Reader Revolution

We speak Chicago to Chicagoans, but we couldn’t do it without your help. Every dollar you give helps us continue to explore and report on the diverse happenings of our city. Our reporters scour Chicago in search of what’s new, what’s now, and what’s next. Stay connected to our city’s pulse by joining the Reader Revolution.

Are you in?

  Reader Revolutionary $35/month →  
  Rabble Rouser $25/month →  
  Reader Radical $15/month →  
  Reader Rebel  $5/month  → 

Not ready to commit? Send us what you can!

 One-time donation  → 

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
April 30
Performing Arts
April 08

Popular Stories