Saturday, January 7, 2023


Tracy Clark is the author of the highly acclaimed Cass Raines Chicago Mystery series, featuring Cassandra Raines, a hard-driving African American PI who works the mean streets of the Windy City dodging cops, cons, and killers. Clark received Anthony Award and Lefty Award nominations for her series debut, Broken Places, which was shortlisted for the American Library Association’s RUSA Reading List and named a CrimeReads Best New PI Book of 2018, a Midwest Connections Pick, and a Library Journal Best Book of the Year. Broken Places has since been optioned by Sony Pictures Television. Clark’s short story “For Services Rendered” appears in the anthology Shades of Black: Crime and Mystery Stories by African-American Authors. She is the winner of the 2020 and 2022 G.P. Putnam’s Sons Sue Grafton Memorial Award, also receiving a 2022 nomination for the Edgar Award for best short story for “Lucky Thirteen,” which appears in the crime fiction anthology Midnight Hour.

Clark applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, Hideand reported the following:
From page 69:
“Who was Peggy close to?” Foster asked, wanting to move things along. “Was there anybody she had a problem with, or they with her?”

“Enough to kill her? No way. Do you have any suspects? Did anybody see anything?”

“We can’t talk about that,” Foster said. “Let’s stick with the names.”

“Doesn’t seem right,” Rimmer said. “I mean, we hung out for several months. That should give me rights to some details.”

“You want details, buy a paper,” Lonergan said.

Rimmer rolled his eyes. “Exactly why I hate talking to cops.”

Lonergan scooted his chair closer to Rimmer’s, met him dead eye to glassy eye. “Maybe you want to have this little talk where we work … and maybe we bring out the drug-sniffing dogs and have them sniff your weedy pockets. How’s that?”

“I’m under the limit,” Rimmer said.

Lonergan grinned. “I’m bettin’ not everywhere, kid. We’ll check your locker, your car, wherever you flop. We’ll turn you inside out.”

Rimmer swallowed hard. “Stella Dean. Try her. She goes to Peg’s school. They hit it off apparently. That’s when I broke things off.”

Lonergan smirked. “She dumped you for a girl?”

“The breakup was mutual.”

“Only you didn’t see it comin’,” Lonergan asserted. “Had to make you mad.”

Rimmer glowered at Lonergan. “You’re trying to needle me. I don’t like it.”

“Tough,” Lonergan said.

Foster was so over Lonergan’s gruff macho posturing. He was a bull in a China shop, a dull blade where a surgical knife was needed. And he was costing them time and good favor with Rimmer, neither of which they could afford to squander.
If readers turned to page 69 of my new novel Hide, they’d get a pretty good feel for what the book’s about. They’d know instantly that they were 69 pages into a gritty police procedural. They’d catch on in a snap that they were tuning into a police partnership that wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders. There’s tension here. Conflict. Internal and external. I’ve paired my African American female protagonist, my hard-hitting investigator, with an old-school white cop who can’t spell finesse let alone stoop so low as to use it. Yet the two are on the trail of a killer and must work together. On page 69, they’ve found a person, Rimmer, who dated the first victim. But that tension between the partners, boy, that’s fiction gold.
Visit Tracy Clark's website.

Q&A with Tracy Clark.

The Page 69 Test: Runner.

--Marshal Zeringue