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Trip Wire: A Cook County Mystery [Paperback]

Charlotte Carter

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Book Description

March 29 2005 Cook County Mystery
Of Jackson Park, the first Cook County mystery featuring an unconventional trio of sleuths, Margo Jefferson of The New York Times said, “Charlotte Carter blends street savvy with wry urbanity and delivers a truly modern big-city crime tale.” Now Carter returns with another suspenseful novel that brings the black experience to vivid life during one of the most turbulent times in American history.

It is December 1968. In the wake of assassinations and the violence of the Democratic convention in Chicago, “Summer of Love” idealism has disintegrated into suspicion and disillusion. On the city’s North Side, twentyishCassandra Perry longs to be independent. She leaves the overprotective embrace of her granduncle and grandaunt, Woody ans Ivy Lisle, and moves into a multiracial commune dedicated to brotherhood and just causes. But Cassandra’s search for identity plunges her into the dark side of peace, love, and unlimited freedom–even before she discovers the brutally violated bodies of the commune’s most charismatic activist couple.

As Cassandra investigates with the help of Woody and Ivy, she begins to see some friends–especially one of her dearest–in a disturbing, deadly light. But when the three amateur sleuths run afoul of a police cover-up with explosive political ramifications, they face a desperate enemy determined to bury the–along with the truth.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: One World/Ballantine (March 29 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345447697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345447692
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g

Product Description


“Charlotte Carter blends street savvy with wry urbanity.”
The New York Times

From the Back Cover

“Charlotte Carter blends street savvy with wry urbanity.”
The New York Times

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Murder mystery set in Chicago during the summer of love May 29 2007
By Ed Lynskey, - Published on
It's Chicage, 1968, the summer of love. Cassandra Perry, early 20s, has moved out of her Aunt Ivy and Uncle Woody Lisle's place and into an integrated commune. Cassandra and the other members smoke lots of dope, listen to music (she enjoys Hendrix), and protest the Vietnam War. Their tight-knit, happy household is rocked when two members are found gruesomely murdered. Displaying anger and purpose, Cassandra resolves to expose their killer. She uncovers a possible police coverup and a militant black group aiding in the desertion of black soldiers. The commune members begin to suspect each other. Despite a somewhat slow start, once the narrative gains traction, events spill out at a satisfying pace. I liked the several surprising twists and Cassandra becomes a sympathetic, hip protagonist. This is a perceptive, intelligent read good for a few hours of engrossing pleasure.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (RAW Rating: 3.5) - Trust no one Nov. 16 2005
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers - Published on
Cassandra Perry moved away from her overprotective Aunt Ivy and Uncle Woody's home into a multiracial commune. It's Chicago 1968, so living in a commune isn't out of the ordinary. The out of the ordinary part is someone has murdered one of the commune's most outspoken couples. Woody and Ivy didn't approve of Cassandra moving into the commune and insist that she return home, but she won't hear of it. The people murdered were her friends, and she is intent on finding the responsible party. Woody and Ivy's first concern is Cassandra's safety, thus they make a compromise-if she considers moving back home with them, they will help her find the killer. Their dangerous journey leads to an additional murder, police cover-up, secret societies, and the possible involvement of other commune members.

Charlotte Carter opened TRIP WIRE using a narrative style that initially made it difficult for me to connect with the characters and plot. Once the storyline began moving, it was fast paced, full of surprises and drew me in. Carter also did an excellent job on setting. As I read, I could see Chicago 1968, I could feel the current of racial tension and class hostility. TRIP WIRE was truly an interesting and enjoyable trip for me.

Reviewed by Deatri King-Bey

of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Light Summer Read... Sept. 5 2005
By Pretty Brown Girl - Published on
Continuing with the characters introduced in Jackson Park, Charlotte Carter returns to 1968 Chicago where an older Cassandra Perry is caught up in the "hippie" lifestyle popular during that era. She is a rebel having moved from the protective home of her aunt and uncle into a multi-cultural commune where vegetarian diets, free love, and an endless supply of drugs are the norm. She is playing "grown up" and her latest decision is to drop out of college - an act that would break her family's heart.

Things quickly change when the lead interracial couple of the commune is brutally murdered and the commune members become the prime suspects. Common for her generation, trust in the police is eroded by years of corruption, racism, and apathy, so she starts her own investigation into the death of her friends. With the help of her aunt and uncle, she discovers a complex plot involving drugs, Black Nationalists, and vengeful Viet Nam war protestors.

Carter has a gift for transporting the reader to another time and place via references to the music of period, the clothes, and use the slang terms and dialogue of her characters. This is a very quick, enjoyable, and easy read for mystery lovers.

Reviewed by Phyllis

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