Local Author Night | Book Cellar | Literary Events | Chicago Reader
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Local Author Night 

When: Wed., Sept. 17, 7 p.m. 2008
With novelists Doug M. Cummings (Every Secret Crime), Keir Graff (One Nation, Under God), and Michael Harvey (The Fifth Floor). In his 2007 debut novel, The Chicago Way, Michael Harvey introduced PI Michael Kelly, a world-weary ex-cop with a penchant for quoting the classics. In his peppy follow-up, The Fifth Floor (Knopf), Harvey has Kelly sticking his broken nose into dicey territory--the fifth floor of City Hall, where the mayor's office is. While tailing a wife-beating husband at the request of an ex-girlfriend, Kelly stumbles upon a murder scene: a history buff with a special interest in the Chicago Fire is found hanging in his home with a mouthful of sand. The wife-beater is a "fixer" for Mayor Wilson, and Kelly's investigation, which leads all the way back to the mayor's great-great-grandfather, draws unwelcome attention from the fifth floor. What everyone's trying to find--and someone's willing to kill for--is a rare copy of an 1886 history of the fire that might reveal how it really started. (Hint: it wasn't Mrs. O'Leary's cow.) Even the fey, sinister curator of the Chicago Historical Society, who wants the book for his own reasons, has ulterior motives. While hunting down clues and dodging goons, Kelly still manages to find time to drink in pubs like the Gingerman and the Hidden Shamrock (of which his creator happens to be a co-owner). --Jerome Ludwig

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