On a quiet street corner in a working-class neighborhood of Holocaust survivors and refugees, the body of a little schoolboy is found in a suitcase.
He’s naked and chopped up into small pieces.
The grisly crime is handed over to two detectives who carry their own personal burdens, Hank Purcell, a married WWII veteran, and his partner, a wise-cracking Jewish cop who loves trouble as much as he loves the bottle.
Their investigation leads them through the dark corners and mean streets of Chicago—as more and more suitcases begin appearing.
Based on the Schuessler-Peterson murders that terrorized Chicago in the 1950s.
Born in a refugee camp after World War II, John Guzlowski came with his family to the United States as a Displaced Person in 1951. His parents had been Polish slave laborers in Nazi Germany. Growing up in the immigrant and refugee neighborhoods around Humboldt Park in Chicago, he met hardware store clerks with Auschwitz tattoos on their wrists, Polish cavalry officers who still mourned for their dead comrades, and women who had walked from Siberia to Iran to escape the Russians. His poetry, fiction, and essays try to remember them and their voices.
His poems also remember his parents, who survived their slave labor experiences in Nazi Germany. A number of these poems appear in his books Language of Mules, Lightning and Ashes (Steel Toe Books), and Third Winter of War: Buchenwald (Finishing Line Press).
Nobel Laureate Czeslaw Milosz, reviewing the Polish translation of Language of Mules, for the journal Tygodnik Powszechny, said, “This volume astonished me.”