Chicago is steeped in racial unrest, gangland warfare is raging, the police department is under investigation by the Justice Department, and well-respected Public Defender Harry West has been dealt a devastating blow while trying to come to grips with his purpose in life.
It ultimately falls on Harry’s love interest, Homicide Detective Lyndi Carnes, to try to quell the murderous rampage sweeping the city. The tough and tenacious cop elicits help from a young officer in the Gang Enforcement Unit with a troubled past and a gun-toting old man who wants nothing more than to cleanse his long-suffering neighborhood of the criminal element.
Peace Road takes place in Chicago and uses as a backdrop the racial and economic issues dividing the city in order to create a story about how unrest, gangs and violence have influenced and damaged many different people living in and around Chicago.
Harry West is public defender whose empathy has shaped the way he approaches his cases. He understand much to well what it feels like to be viewed as the other and hopes by representing criminals he is influencing them to take a second chance and change their ways but his growing frustration with the upturn of violence in Chicago has him feeling less accomplished. His relationship with the tough and beautiful Homicide Detective Lyndi Carnes is the only bright spot in a life that has him questioning humanity but even Lyndi can’t blot out the darkness and bad surrounding him and Chicago. Lyndi is a hard nose, hard ass detective. She see things simple, as black and white. There is the law and her job is to take in the bad guys, nothing more to it. It’s all about the doing what needs to be done in the moment. While Lyndi and Harry try to figure out where to go with their relationship and how to understand one another’s perspective, an old client of Harry’s comes back into his life bringing with him danger and throwing him straight into the pits of violence.
This is a heavy book. Now don’t take that as discouragement from reading Peace Road. Like Upshot it is well-written, with a compelling storyline and interesting characters. The storyline does take a nod from to real life events and incorporates some of the ongoing social issues in our nation and since those issues have yet to be dealt with and feelings are still raw and many are in pain it is hard to separate the reality from the fantasy. I did feel emotionally exhausted with some of the content and cringed uncomfortably at some points. Nevertheless, I became invested in the story and wanted to ride it out with Harry and Lyndi until the very end.
This is a crime story with interesting bad guys, good guys with a heart but at the point of throwing in the towel, determined citizens working toward change and a flawed kick ass female cop with an interesting personal background. I’m hoping that this book kicks off the beginnings of a crime/cop series that features Lyndi. It would be interesting to see how the end events in this book have affected her and how that has molded her continued work as a Detective in Chicago.