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West of Western (Chicago Stories #1)

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4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  58 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
One wounded ex-Marine starting a new life as an architect in Chicago. An abandoned workshop west of Western Avenue. Smashed windows, death threats, a dead body on the doorstep and a crazed ex-nun next door. A mysterious Ukrainian, a principled gang leader, a 350 lb Haitian baritone. Bodies in a vacant lot. A secret garden, actors living in a church, a pregnant teenager dyi ...more
Kindle Edition, 252 pages
Published January 11th 2012 by Eileen Robertson Hamer (first published 2012)
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Susan Anderson
Feb 02, 2013 Susan Anderson rated it it was amazing
This isn't a real review, all fancied up with tight thought because I don't have time for memorable prose but I wanted to tell you how this book hit me.

I bought Chicago Stories: West of Western by Eileen Robertson Hamer because, well, I'm a Chicagoan and I haven't read many novels that take place in my city. Thinking that the cover was really good and the title cool, I opened the book and began reading and was astonished at the strong, remarkably original voice of the author which throughout the
...more
Polly
Jun 15, 2012 Polly rated it it was amazing
Worthy Debut

I enjoyed this book on so many levels. First, that Ms. Hamer resisted the prevailing pressure for crime writers to slap a dead body in the first chapter or, even worse, to have the hero or heroine trip over a corpse on the first page, made me sigh with relief. Architect Seraphy Pelligrini, an ex-Marine and undercover Darkpool agent, injured in Iraq by an IED, finds the perfect building to set up her workshop and living quarters. Her real estate agent tries to dissuade her because the
...more
So, I Read This Book Today
Jan 05, 2014 So, I Read This Book Today rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
Recommended to So, I Read This Book Today by: Amazon
Violence, even well intentioned, always rebounds upon oneself. Lao Tzu

Suddenly, to everyone's horror, the tomb of his grandfather opens and a hand grabs Don Carlo's shoulder, pulling him back into the tomb. – Verdi’s Don Carlo

As I was reading Chicago Stories: West of Western I was brought to mind of a modern day opera, a tragedy, lived across the streets of the west side of Chicago. Blood and war, incest, murder, hatred, fear - all the themes are there, richly portrayed. The brutality of poverty
...more
Elizabeth
I was torn between a 3 or 4 star review. As a Sara Paretsky fan the book description reminded me of some of Ms. Paretsky's early books. The author Eileen Hamer has her own unique voice and thank goodness.

Seraphy Pelligrini is searching for a new home and driving the Chicago realtors crazy because they keep showing her yuppie condos and she is adamant that she doesn't want one. So when her latest realtor accidentally shows her a listing for a property "west of Western" and Seraphy insists on seei
...more
University of Chicago Magazine
Eileen Hamer, PhD'92
Author

After ten years in the Middle East, ex-Marine and Darkpool agent Seraphy Pelligrini doesn’t scare easily. So when she’s wounded by an IED and sent home to Chicago to begin a new life as an architect, she’s not concerned the home she chooses lies in a marginal neighborhood west of Western Avenue.

Gangbangers toss bricks through her windows; she orders bulletproof windows. They paint death threats on her garage door; she installs video cameras. The Lobos stalk her; she el
...more
Sharon Michael
Dec 27, 2012 Sharon Michael rated it it was amazing
A wonderful introduction through the adversarial interaction between the main character and her real estate agent hooked me from the first few pages.

A first book by a new to me author rarely gets a 5 star rating as it's my 're-reads' that I usually reserve my 5 star ratings for. While I have not re-read this one yet, I have gone back and bought the second book in the series, which is also rare enough for me that this one gets all 5 stars.

Many of the 'not police/not P.I.' mysteries are just not b
...more
A.B. Shepherd
Dec 05, 2012 A.B. Shepherd rated it really liked it
You can read my review here:

http://abshepherdsreinventedreader.bl...
Iris Szymanski
Aug 24, 2015 Iris Szymanski rated it really liked it
Good read.

I found this to be interesting read. The main character. Just did not evolve into the person she should have been. The timeline of the days were confusing to me and made it confusing in retrospect. The author should have corrected that aspect of the story.

With that said, it was a good story. I will read the next book just to see if the author corrects the timeline mistakes.
Mary
Nov 08, 2015 Mary rated it really liked it
Uneven but interesting

Read this after reading some good reviews and found it interesting with a great setting and some fascinating characters. Worth my time.
Chaplain Stanleigh Chapin
Mar 03, 2014 Chaplain Stanleigh Chapin rated it really liked it
Enjoyable to read

Having lived near that area and rode those street's in cars and biked during the day to shop made It enjoyable
Linda Cole
Aug 29, 2015 Linda Cole rated it it was amazing
Could not quit

This was a very good book it was full of pain but also of hope will read more of her series
Joyce
May 09, 2013 Joyce rated it really liked it
As a native Chicagoan, I am quick to read novels set there. Most are written by individuals who really don't know the city at all. Hamer's book is right on. She knows the city and the feeling of the neighborhoods she is writing about. Seraphy, the protagonist is an architect with a history of being a Marine followed by a stint with Darkpool, which is exactly what it sounds like. She is tough, unafraid and well able to deal with the complexities of a non-gentrified neighborhood in gangland. Her s ...more
Toni Roush
Aug 26, 2014 Toni Roush rated it really liked it
Surprisingly good

This was one of those books I picked up for free, and quite truthfully I didn't have great expectations. The book started off a little rough and slow, but as it gradually drew me in it started moving and smoothed out. Nice character development, with surprising twists and turns and a satisfying ending. There were a couple of "mistakes" such as dates going out of order, but nothing that can't be figured out. For that it gets only 4 stars. Looking forward to seeing what this auth
...more
Mary
Sep 30, 2013 Mary rated it really liked it
This was a free Kindle download and having grown up in Chicago, I'm always looking for a new book about "home" I grew up on the Northwest side before the Latin Kings and other gangs had the presence they have now but much of the story still rings true.

The characters had depth, the neighborhood descriptions are clearly written by someone who knows the area and I enjoyed the twist at the end.

Looking forward to seeing how Seraphy grows into her own
Kristi Echandy
Dec 02, 2013 Kristi Echandy rated it really liked it
I actually liked this book. There were a few things to comment on. I grew up on the south side but never heard anybody call a garbage can a toter. I find Mario as a real person to be unbelievable- although I suppose not impossible. I also thought that everything happened in too short of a time span. Lastly, there were. few typos, but typos don't really bother me. Good job.
Nancy Harmon
Aug 24, 2013 Nancy Harmon rated it liked it
I'm rather ambivalent about this book. It could have used better editing. I spotted numerous typo's, misspelling and words out of place. It drew me out of the action when I had to stop and figure out what the author was trying to say. A tighter storyline would have enhanced the action. It seemed to take forever to get to the crux
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I grew up in on a farm in northern Illinois, earned a BA and MA at the university of Illinois and a PhD at the University of Chicago (Art History). along the way, I married, had three children, got unmarried, went back to school, decided I didn't want to be an academic, moved around and finally returned to Champaign, IL.
I've been many things. Studio artist, potter, building rehabber, designer, art
...more
More about Eileen Robertson Hamer...

Other Books in the Series

Chicago Stories (2 books)
  • Along the Ravenswood (Chicago Stories #2)

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