An Alternate History in which Power, Crime, and the Supernatural Intersect on the South Side of Chicago
During the First World War, on the South Side of Chicago, officer Joe “Flip” Flippity has begun an investigation into a serial decapitationist who is hunting young children. At a time when African American officers are rendered second-class by prejudicial policies, Flip is nonetheless called upon by the mayor of the city—the legendary Big Bill Thompson himself—and a host of powerful city fathers, to thwart this murderer who threatens to destroy the city's reputation as a safe haven for those making the Great Migration north.
While searching to catch his killer—and to discover why the most powerful men in Chicago are truly concerned about the murders of poor black refugees—Flip's bloody trail takes him through the South Side’s vice districts (where anything is available for a price), across its most dangerous criminal underbellies, and into a bracing and unexpected world of supernatural horror.
As Flip digs deeper in his quest to protect the city’s most vulnerable, he stumbles upon more mysterious murders, confounding psychological puzzles, and terrifying hints of something "other" that may reach across from unknowable distances to guide the hand of a killer. It soon becomes apparent that all is not as it seems, and that mysterious and powerful forces are conspiring to stand in Flip’s way.
A combination of detective thriller, cosmic horror, and historical fiction, Lake of Darkness takes us to the deepest and darkest places in Chicago’s very dark history.
This superb blend of noir and horror from Kenemore (Zombie, Ohio) centers on the search for a serial killer who targets twins in WWI-era Chicago, starting with two 10-year-old African-Americans, a brother and sister, whose heads are cut off and switched. Other murders follow in which black children's heads are severed and then attached to their siblings' torsos. Mayor Big Bill Thompson, who has eyes on the White House, is concerned that the killings could harm Chicago's reputation and stem the migration of African-Americans from the South. Thompson gives Joe "Flip" Flippity, one of Chicago's few black cops, carte blanche to solve the case. Flip is aided by such unusual allies as the Amazing Drextel Tark, a magician whose illusions employ his own twin brother, and elderly Ursula Green, who uses a crystal ball animated by a supernatural force "larger and stronger than herself." Kenemore keeps the tension high throughout. Fans of gritty urban fantasy will want to read more from this gifted writer.