I just finished reading Michael A. Black’s new Leal and Hart mystery, Hostile Takeovers. I really enjoyed it, even more than the debut novel in that series, Random Victim, which was itself an excellent read. This series is classified as a police procedural, meaning that the main characters are policemen and -women, and you follow them as they go about solving a crime. Frank Leal is a sargeant for the Cook County Sheriff’s Police; Olivia (“Ollie”) Hart was his partner, but they’ve been separated into different units.
In this book, the two of them are working on different cases, but the cases are linked–though they don’t know that. One of Leal’s snitches turns up dead in the city of Robertsville on Chicago’s southside, just as he was preparing to give the police information on a drug lord in the area. Hart is also working in Robertsville, where the corrupted police department had to be turned out and replaced. Until the replacements are trained, the area is relying on officers like Hart to maintain order. Though Leal is pulled off investigating the case in favor of tracking a roaming band of thieves who rob convenience stores, he won’t give up the case entirely. Good thing. The snitch was the victim of a freelance killer hired by a drug lord who plans to take over a nearby drug lord’s territory. As each drug lord plans to eliminate the other, the situation turns deadly for all in Robertsville, putting Hart, Leal and many of their fellow officers in danger.
This book has several stories going on at once, but Black is a master storyteller, and by the end all the loose ends have been sewn together in a great, tightly scripted ending. As a policeman, Black knows the dirt and grit of the Chicago area, and his writing is authentic. Don’t miss this paperback original, out from Leisure Books!