Street Justice-Kris Nelscott

Street Justice
Kris Nelscott
WMG, Mar 4 2014, $18.99
http://www.wmgpublishing.com
ISBN 9780615866451

In January 1970, unlicensed Black private investigator Smokey Dalton freezes in his unheated apartment while raising his unofficial adopted son eleven year old Jimmy. He carries a concealed gun after some recent attacks. He follows closely the Chicago Seven Conspiracy Circus and the Cook County Coroners’ inquest into the firefight deaths (that Smokey believes were official blue plate executions) of Black Panthers Fred Hampton and Mark Clark.

Jimmy’s hysterical friend Keith Grimshaw calls Dalton pleading with him to help his thirteen year old sister Lacey at the Starlite Hotel where she was assaulted. Dalton finds the perpetrator but the assailant belongs to the mob connected Outfit that stalks school girls. The police, the city leaders and the school administration refuse to intercede; forcing Dalton to turn elsewhere for assistance, but no one in their right mind wants to tangle with this gang though he ultimately finds improbable allies.

The latest Smoky Dalton historical whodunit is a terrific entry in what is one of the best on going mystery series (see Days of Rage, War At Home and Smoke Filled Rooms). The powerful historiographical backdrop brings to life an era of protest and countermeasures through a powerful cast. The investigation and Smokey’s efforts to find brave people especially in authority willing to risk all to bring down the Outfit enhances the deep look at the beginning of the 1970s reactionary aftermath to the turbulent 1960s.

Harriet Klausner

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