"Pirrone does a deft job of bringing her characters to life..." --Foreword Reviews
Promises to the Dead
Allium Press of Chicago
As Chicago recovers from the Great Fire of 1871, the Civil War continues to haunt its residents. What begins for Detective Frank Hanley as the simple case of a missing railroad clerk quickly escalates into something much more complex. Ezra Hayes, who has made a daring escape from forced servitude on a Louisiana sugar plantation, brings to Chicago proof of nefarious doings in the South. His information implicates the missing clerk’s employer, a major shipper of sugar. As Hanley struggles to untangle the web of circumstances surrounding the railroad’s role in the clerk’s disappearance, Rivka Kelmansky faces her own personal struggle. Her brother is pressuring her to marry a young man from her tight-knit Jewish community, but she still dreams of forging a new life with Hanley. When her mulatto sister-in-law is wrongfully accused of murder, Rivka turns to Hanley for help. Facing opposition on multiple fronts, they must race against time to save Ada’s life and uncover the shocking truth.
“A riveting historical novel whose exploration of hatred and prejudice will leave you shaking with anger”—Kirkus Reviews
For You Were Strangers
Allium Press of Chicago
On a spring morning in 1872, former Civil War officer Ben Champion is discovered dead in his Chicago bedroom, a bayonet protruding from his back. What starts as a routine case for Detective Frank Hanley soon becomes anything but, as his investigation into Champion's life turns up hidden truths best left buried: a lawsuit over defective guns sold to Union soldiers, ties to a former slave passing as white, and an escaped Confederate guerrilla bent on vengeance for Champion's actions during the war.
Meanwhile, Rivka Kelmansky's long-lost brother Aaron arrives on her doorstep with his mulatto wife and son. Aaron and his family know too much about past actions that still threaten powerful men, including an 1864 conspiracy to establish Chicago as the capital of a Northwest Confederacy. Amid simmering hostilities still present seven years after the war's end, Hanley and Rivka race against time to solve the murder before the secrets of bygone days claim more victims.
Shall We Not Revenge
Allium Press of Chicago, Createspace
In the harsh early winter months of 1872, while Chicago still smolders from the Great Fire, Irish Catholic detective Frank Hanley is assigned the case of a murdered Orthodox Jewish rabbi. His investigation proves difficult when the neighborhood's Yiddish-speaking residents, wary of outsiders, are reluctant to talk. But when the rabbi's headstrong daughter, Rivka, unexpectedly offers to help Hanley find her father's killer, the detective receives much more than the break he was looking for.
Their pursuit of the truth draws Rivka and Hanley closer together and leads them to a relief organization run by the city's wealthy movers and shakers. Along the way, they uncover political corruption, crookerd cops, and well-buried ties to two notorious Irish gangsters from Hanley's checkered past. Even after he's kicked off the case, stripped of his badge and thrown in jail, Hanley refuses to quit. With a personal vendetta to settle for an innocent life lost, he is determined to expose a complicated criminal scheme, not just for his own sake, but for Rivka's as well.
No Less In Blood
Five Star/Cengage, CreateSpace
In 1893, seventeen-year-old Mary Anne Schlegel left her uncle's Chicago home to visit the World's Fair and vanished. The discovery of her fate more than a century later upends the life of Rachel Connolly, an adoptee desperately seeking her roots. Rachel's search for her birth mother leads her deep into a shrouded family past and threatens to uncover a secret kept for three generations...a secret one of her newfound kin just might be willing to kill for.
"This may be a debut mystery, but Pirrone writes like a veteran. Her ability to create characters, whether a present-day adoptee seeking her roots or the author of a beautifully written 1893 diary who just might be her ancestor, and then place them both in jeopardy, is the mark of a talented, accomplished, nuanced author. Don't miss No Less In Blood." --Libby Fischer Hellman, author of A Bitter Veil, Havana Lost, Set the Night on Fire, and the Ellie Foreman and Georgia Davis mysteries