Behind the Book – Hidden Graves by Jack Fredrickson

“The criminals are clever and the detective, after his initial benightedness, even more clever, making Fredrickson’s sixth case one of his best” Kirkus Reviews

Someone is trying to frame Chicago private investigator Dek Elstrom for murder … Here,  author Jack Fredrickson tells the story behind his new book …

HIDDEN GRAVES is about how secrets of old crimes can return to kill.

Of how those old secrets demand tending, of how so often they must be protected with new crimes and new secrets, and of how, when those old crimes involve politicians, that tending requires murder.

That wouldn’t surprise most folks who Hidden Graves book jacket smaller.jpglive in Illinois, especially in or near the county of Cook and even more especially in the city of Chicago, where HIDDEN GRAVES is set.

Shamefully perhaps, most have accepted that these environs are simply and fundamentally crooked, that they’ve long been the most fertile of soils for greed, corruption, and worse. It’s been that way since way before Al Capone, continuing up through the more recent past when four of the state’s last seven governors were sent to prison, and into a present where it seems reasonable to imagine that a woman might hire a private investigator to look in on three people whose secrets include having lives that never really existed at all, and a candidate for United States Senate who’d done much good while being accused of hiding quite a bit of bad.

There’s a frightening sensibility to all of this but one that can be comic as well. Which is maybe why the Dek Elstrom mysteries often get good, but occasionally odd, reviews. The New York Times featured HONESTLY DEAREST, YOU’RE DEAD, the second in the series and a book about arson and a missing girl. Their piece was about noir novels, but they focused on a riff in the book that foresaw a future world where sunshine was abandoned, once the last coffee shops got moved into Wal-Marts, and where generations of families pushed themselves about in shopping carts, racing from aisle to aisle to find falling prices.

I liked that they liked that. The Dek Elstrom mysteries strive for that tug of murderous suspense against the laughs of a sometimes outrageous ensemble cast.

HIDDEN GRAVES by Jack Fredrickson is published by Severn House.  For further information, please visit our website here.


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