Mixing police procedurals with fairytales is a tricky balancing act which Cynthia Pelayo attempts in her novel Children Of Chicago, which looks to be the first of a series.
Pelayo takes the fairytale of the Pied Piper and although sinister to begin with, takes it to a whole new level and makes the character pretty terrifying.
We follow the journey of Officer Lauren Medina, a woman haunted by her past and struggling in the present. From the outset it is clear that Lauren is an unreliable narrator, but this does not discount from her journey during this book.
Pelayo also mixes in some cultural sub-text of Chicago itself, which only enriches the story and adds another layer of mystery to what is going on.
While the book’s conclusion may be in part, telegraphed by the mid-point this does not take away from the gut punch it provides.
It will certainly be interesting to see where Pelayo takes this series next.
Children of Chicago is available now from Agora Books.