Suitcase Charlie

“A tough-as-rusty-nails police procedural… Each environment seems spookier than the last in a narrative driven by lyrical anxiety.”     Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal

Chicago, May 30, 1956: On a quiet corner in a working-class immigrant neighborhood, a heavy suitcase is discovered on the sidewalk late at night. Inside is the body of a young boy, naked and hacked into pieces.

Two hard-drinking Chicago detectives are assigned to the case: Hank Purcell, who still has flashbacks ten years after the Battle of the Bulge, and his partner Marvin Bondarowicz, a wise-cracking Jewish cop who loves trouble as much as he loves booze. Their investigation takes them through the dark streets of Chicago in search of an even darker secret–as more and more suitcases turn up.

“Every detective has a case that haunts him. For the Chicago cops Hank Purcell and Marvin Bondarowicz, that would be the “dead kid in the suitcase” whose broken body epitomizes “some kind of evil that was one-of-a-kind, fresh and original down to its buttons.” Guzlowski…lets us know that, back in the day, the city of Chicago was an all-around rough town.”     Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

“John Guzlowski beautifully conjures up the seamy side of the allegedly innocent 1950s with a thrilling serial murder mystery featuring two boozehound detectives… The plot moves sure-footedly to a powerful and plausible conclusion.”     Philip K. Jason, Jewish Book Council