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An Only Child

A novel by

Russell Reinhart, a well-known author of private eye novels, is released from the Illinois State Prison in Joliet after serving seven years for the involuntary manslaughter of his wife. He returns to Chicago, welcomed home by his top-flight attorney who tucked away all his millions so no one could get hold of them while he was incarcerated, and rented him an elegant apartment in the Near North neighborhood, half a block from Lake Michigan.

Reinert was an only child, adopted when an infant, and now he has no one to whom he can turn. His release from prison is reported by the local papers, and he’s contacted by a man he’s never heard of named Cole Cabot. A few years earlier, Cabot had married Reinert’s extra-curricular girlfriend, Aubrey, who has suddenly gone missing. Russ pleads he’s no private eye but just writes fiction about them, but worries his ex-lover has disappeared, so agrees to take on the case. He learns Aubrey was also the mistress of one of the world’s richest men in America, Gaylord Ogilvie, at the same time she was with him. Having investigative trouble, he is helped by the young son of a man who met while he was in prison, a huge, half-illiterate black man named Denver Tolliver, who saved his life behind bars several times. Denver was locked up for life after killing a police officer, but his college-student son is brilliant loyal, intelligent and wise.

Butting heads with Ogilvie and his minions, Russ also falls heads-over-heels in love with Cassidy Hammond, who he met while taking a Michigan Avenue Beach run for the first time in seven years. His adjustment to new freedom makes life more difficult than he’d ever imagined.

When he runs into danger that might turn permanent, he hadn’t forgotten how Denver Tolliver had taught him to prison-fight, and he eventually learns he’s not that much alone as he thought he was.

The first words of this book are identical to the last words in the book, too: “I am an only child…”

Genre: Mystery

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