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Chicago Blues [Paperback]

By Libby Fischer Hellman (Editor)
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Item description for Chicago Blues by Libby Fischer Hellman...

Nobody does Blues like Chicago. This collection of dark stories, from today's best Chicago crime fiction authors, captures the depths to which people sink when they run out of options. The emptiness and pain spawned by greed. The violence--or occasionally, the bittersweet redemption--that springs from a broken heart.

The writers who live and breathe in Chicago make Chicago live and breathe in this stunning collection. Contributors include Sara Paretsky, Stuart Kaminsky, Barbara D'Amato, Max Allan Collins, Marcus Sakey, Sean Chercover, Michael Black, JA Konrath, Libby Fischer Hellmann, and others. With an introduction by Rick Kogan.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   456
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 16, 2007
Publisher   Bleak House Books
ISBN  1932557490  
ISBN13  9781932557497  

Availability  0 units.

More About Libby Fischer Hellman

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Crime fiction author Libby Fischer Hellmann is writing her way around the genre. Her most recent thriller, SET THE NIGHT ON FIRE, goes back to the late Sixties in Chicago. She also writes two crime series, one with PI Georgia Davis, the other with video producer and amateur sleuth Ellie Foreman. Her short story collection, NICE GIRL DOES NOIR, was released in 2010. She has also written a cozy novella, THE LAST PAGE, and a police procedural, TOXICITY. She has lived in Chicago over 30 years. More at

Libby Fischer Hellmann currently resides in Northbrook Northbrook, in the state of Illinois.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > Anthologies
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Chicago Blues?

The Dark Side of Chicago  Dec 26, 2007
Although I am generally not a fan of short story collections, this is the second one I've read in the last week, and it is a winner. Comprised of 21 tales, all but four of which are published here for the first time, all of them, as one would expect, have the city of Chicago as a palpable character. Most of them also deal, directly or indirectly, with the Blues - to quote from the Introduction: "An old blues man once told me, `You've got to know the blues to play the blues.' But do you have to know the blues to write the blues?" I guess that question is still unanswered, but write the blues they certainly have done. As Libby Fischer Hellmann [who has edited this compilation and contributed a wonderful piece to it as well] says in her Preface, "...the Blues are the Noir of music. You know you're on a journey to a bitter end, but you don't want to stop." And that perfectly describes this reader's reaction.

Among the contributors are Jack Fredrickson., whose "Good Evenin', Blues" tells of the owner of a blues joint under the elevated tracks "a mile west of what's fashionable in Chicago;" D. C. Brod, whose "My Heroes Have Always Been Shortstops" shows to what lengths a die-hard sports fan will go; Barbara D'Amato, covering a lesser-known part of Chicago in "The Lower Wacker Hilton;" Mary V. Welk, in "Code Blue," with one of the darker entries; and, talk about "dark," Marcus Sakey, whose "No One" is nothing short of chilling.

I particularly enjoyed the segment headed Series Characters, with five tales, each one excellent, featuring protagonists created by Sara Paretsky, Kris Nelscott, J. A. Konrath, Sean Chercover and Max Allan Collins, and was glad Mr. Konrath's was only 12 pages long, as I held my breath for much of it.
Great Chicago Mystery Stories  Nov 28, 2007
Fully enjoyed the stories in this anthology. Though each was based losely on Chicago and Chicago blues, each had it's own story to tell and, for the most part, they were told well. If you know the city at all you'll enjoy this read. If you don't this is a good way to start.
Nasty, sticky, dark and tender blues  Oct 28, 2007
By twenty-one Chicago blues artists.
Edited by Libby Fischer Hellmann
Bleak House Books, October 2007
456 pages, Hardcover, $27.95

Chicago, like most large cities anywhere in the world, is really two or more cities. It exists in different times and sometimes in different universes, even while occupying the same real estate. Daytimes the people of the upper world are there, crowds of shoppers, traffic, wheelers and dealers, the thousands or millions who go busily about their daily lives in the hard sunlight, visible to almost everybody.

Then there's the other city, the one you encounter at night after the sun departs along with the suited workers. This city is a little less crowded, except in the sometimes stifling bars or underground caverns. In this city you'll meet good cops trying to control the violence, and you may brush up against the others, those acquiring their reputations as bad and dangerous boys and girls. In the nighttime you can also meet the scufflers, the dealers, the thugs the killers, and the other slitherers through the night.

There are still other players in Chicago. They are the makers of music, of art, of story. And while they intersect with the rest of the night crawlers, it's often the horn players in the bars and night clubs who lend texture and rhythm to the boozy, bluesy night, to that night thick with desire and trepidation, with humidity and icy winds. This city is sometimes violent in places where the sun never filters in, where dark denizens shun the scrutiny of the day. The urban canyons of Chicago are often dark enough all day long to sustain the underlife, and the river that runs the wrong direction.

Intermingled with the busy daytime traders and the nighttime scufflers are the watchers, the storytellers who observe and remember and write it all down. They go down the dangerous streets and trash-strewn alleys so you don't have to. You can read all about it and experience it at a safer distance, know that frisson of danger, without really getting dirty.

If that's your thing, this is a book for you. If you want to have an up-close experience of the down and dirty blues of Chicago, this is a book you really want to read. Here, collected by astute and talented storytellers who drift through this urban scene, observing, recording, writing it down, are some of the best of the good stories. Twenty one of them, collected and shaped in a single volume aptly named "Chicago Blues." Dark stories of dark deeds, crisply written, sometimes enlightening, most relating tales of unregenerate and occasionally ordinary crime and criminals. Here is the corrupt politician, the vengeful ER nurse, here is history and flashback, here is skin-crawling realism. Life and death in the big city.

I have a tenuous connection with Chicago of an earlier time, of Count Basie and the old Blue Note, of North Clark Street. I have connections with several of the authors represented in this excellent anthology. That said, if you are looking for the true blue essence of the canyons of urban Chicago noir, if you want a sample of the gritty, sticky pavement of crime, of individuals pushed beyond their limits, of the grasping, panting, unredemptive jazz and jive of big city noir, here's a collection that takes hold and grasps and satisfies until the final curtain. This one is a winner, a keeper. This is the blues.
A solid anthology with a high batting average  Oct 23, 2007
Editor Libby Fischer Hellmann presents a solid anthology of crime stories, all set in the city of Chicago. Most of them are originals, although a handful, including a couple of the better ones, are reprints. As is the case with all such collections, there are several misses mixed in with the hits, but the batting average of Chicago Blues is definitely higher than most. Stand-out contributions from Hellmann, Stuart Kaminsky, Jack Fredrickson, David J. Walker, Michael Allen Dymmoh and Barbara D'Amato in particular recommend it.

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