Review: Broken Places by Tracy Clark

BRoken Places is the introduction to Cass Raines, a tough, no-nonsense investigator who has recently left the force after a shooting incident. She finds herself with a number of enemies in the police force but also uses her great investigative assets to ensure she is a fascinating character.

The book earned a nomination for a Shamus Award for Best First PI Novel in 2019.

Book Details

Title: Broken Places
Author: Tracy Clark
Pages: 361
Published Date: 2018
Publisher: Kensington Books
Series Details: 1st book in the Chicago Mystery series

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From the Dustjacket

Former cop Cass Raines has found the world of private investigation a less stressful way to eke out a living in the Windy City. But when she stumbles across the dead body of a respected member of the community, it's up to her to prove a murderer is on the loose...

Cops can make mistakes, even when they're not rookies. If anyone knows that it's Cass Raines, who took a bullet two years ago after an incompetent colleague screwed up a tense confrontation with an armed suspect. deeply traumatized by the incident, Cass resigned from the Chicago PD, leaving one less female African-American on the force. Now she's the head of a one-woman private investigation agency, taking on just enough work to pay the bills. She spends the rest of her time keeping an eye on the tenants in her little Hyde Park apartment building, biking along the lakefront and playing chess with the only father figure she's ever known, Father Ray Heaton.

When Father Ray asks Cass to look into a recent spate of vandalism at his church, she readily agrees to handle the case. But only hours later she's horrified to discover his murdered body in the church confessional, a dead gangbanger sprawled out nearby. She know Pop, as she called him, had ticked off plenty of people, from slumlords to drug dealers and even some parishioners and politicians, with his uncompromising defense of the downtrodden. But a late night random theft doesn't seem like much of a motive at a cash-strapped parish like Saint Brendan's.

The lead detective assigned to the case is all too ready to dismiss it as an interrupted burglary gone awry, just another statistic in a violent city. But Cass's instincts tell her otherwise, and badge or no badge, she intends to see justice done...

Other Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Cass Raines was a cop until she and her partner, Detective Ben Mickerson, were almost killed in an incident they had under control until James Farraday, a glory-seeking cop with a lot of clout in the Chicago PD, rushed in and precipitated a gunfight. Raised by her grandparents after her mother died and her father took off, Cass was one of the few African-American women on the force, and she has no tolerance for bullshit...Read Full Review

Publisher's Weekly

Cass Raines, the intelligent, perceptive narrator of Clark’s unforgettable first novel and series launch, runs her own one-woman detective agency in Chicago. A former Chicago PD detective, Cass left the force after being shot during a confrontation with an armed suspect two years earlier...Read Full Review

Lesa's Book Critiques

Tracy Clark's debut mystery, Broken Places, is one of the best books I've read this year. Her story of a tough African-American cop turned private investigator reminds me of one of the legendary detectives in modern mysteries, Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone...Read Full Review

Blogger News Network

First in a series, Broken Places: A Chicago Mystery, is an engrossing and complicated read. It has plenty of action, characters of depth and breath, and a very complicated mystery. Built from stereotypical elements which then are morphed into a read that is truly different, this is a hard boiled mystery...Read Full Review

BOLO Book Review

The pantheon of female private investigators dedicated to serving the constituents of their city may want to prepare themselves to add a new member to their legion. Names like Kinsey Millhone (Santa Teresa, California), Claire DeWitt (New Orleans, Louisiana), Kate Brannigan (Manchester, England), and Tess Monaghan (Baltimore, Maryland) immediately call to mind the personalities of those characters and the uniqueness of their locations, but it is probably V. I. Warshawski who is the truest sister in crime for Cassandra “Cass” Raines...Read Full Review

GoodReads Reviews

"Tracy Clark introduces us to one hardcore woman detective. Cass still lives in the apartment building in Hyde Park that her grandparents left to her when they passed away. She clings to the familiar and yet can transform herself to any new situation in a heartbeat."

At the time of writing there are 79 reviews posted to the GoodReads website as well as 347 ratings for an average of 3.9/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the GoodReads website.

Amazon Reviews

"What I appreciated most about this story was the array of emotions presented for this protagonist. This young woman was aware of her vulnerability in dangerous situations, but forges ahead with courage and determination to solve a crime in the midst of her grief, and physical pain. She endures several setbacks and violent confrontations, yet uses her own belligerence to keep her moving forward. A great beginning to a promising series!"

At the time of writing there are 47 reviews posted to the Amazon website for an average of 4.4/5 stars. You can read these reviews by visiting the Amazon website

Author Interviews

Interview titled Tracy Clark, In the Hot Seat by Poisoned Pen 

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