Wallace Street

 

Wallace Street, is a mystery novel in e-book format by Tess Devlin.

The story line follows the lives of a large number of the poor inhabitants of a severely depressed neighborhood in 1950’s Chicago. A few are fortunate enough to have jobs. Some are too uninterested to try to obtain them. Several are alcoholics, the wives often are abused and the children are plentiful. They proceed through their daily lives in a mostly uninteresting mundane fashion except for a couple of gossip worthy residents and a bright spot weekly Bingo game for the ladies and penny poker for the men. Their routine existence suddenly is shattered when one of the children is savagely murdered and the community comes together to attempt to aid one another to cope. A large cast of characters is involved, each with his/her individual problem described in some detail and the reader easily is brought to the realization that the community and many of its members will never again be the same. The tale’s finalé is quite interesting and, unless you read a lot of mysteries and note the lightly emphasized descriptions, probably quite unexpected.

Discussion: The mechanics of design basically are well done with often an entire chapter devoted to describing a family, their interrelationships and individual/collective problems. The police aggressive activity with respect to interrogation is modified but appropriate to the era as is their sloppy case handling. Similarly well done are the depiction of a cop dedicated to his beat and the individuals within, his ability to overlook minor infractions and the uneasy relationship that he develops and maintains with the area’s hoodlums. The one difficulty encountered by this reviewer was the occasional unexpected manner of switching from one to another of the many characters as they pursue some past or present activity and some other minor faults that more meticulous editing could have avoided.

Conclusion: Intriguing human interest story offering many opportunities for further development.

4* Intriguing human interest story immersed in a murder mystery.

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