Chicagoland Mystery

A Safe Place for Dying by Jack Fredrickson

Down and out, unlucky in love, and living in a tower, Dek Elstrom is a bit of a wreck. Then the security guard at the gated community where Dek used to live—back when Dek and his ex-wife were still happy and still married, and before Dek melted down one night and was forcibly removed from the premises—approaches him to request help investigating a recent explosion in one of the houses. When it turns out to have been a bomb, rather than a gas line accident, the gazillioinaire financial manager who’s funding the investigation makes sure Dek keeps it quiet. In spite of—or maybe because of—his failings and his contrarian streak, Dek won me over. As he’s rehabbing the family folly he inherited—the turret where he sleeps on a cot —he finds an inspired, brilliantly juvenile way to deal with the annoying little zoning guy who plagues him. Plus, Dek has an uber-geek friend named Leo who wears hideously tacky clothes and drives a Porsche. You gotta like that. A great debut novel, with the next installment (Honestly Dearest, You’re Dead) due soon.