A reading and book signing by the author, DEAN KLINKENBERG on the 1st floor stage at the Schlafly Tap Room (business per usual at the bar)
ROCK ISLAND LIVES is a mystery set in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois. Gangster John Looney may have died 70 years ago, but stories of the chaos he created in Rock Island, Illinois live on. St. Louis author Dean Klinkenberg draws inspiration from those stories in a new mystery, Rock Island Lines. Klinkenberg will be discussing the book at a release party on January 7th at the Schlafly Tap Room in St. Louis.
“I’ve been intrigued by the story of John Looney’s life since I first came across it,” Klinkenberg said. Looney controlled much of the vice trade, and many Rock Island officials, in the 1910s and early 1920s, until the law caught up with him. He served eight years at the Joliet prison and died, nearly forgotten, in south Texas in 1942.
“While we know a lot about Looney’s life and crimes, we don’t know much about his family. If he has any living descendants, they’ve kept a very low profile, so I decided to invent a direct descendant of Looney and bring him back to the Quad Cities.”
The book’s protagonist, writer Frank Dodge, goes to the Quad Cities to track down the descendant, Miguel Ramirez, to feature him in a story he wants to write. The morning after they meet, Ramirez is found dead in the Mississippi River, and the police suspect that Dodge was involved in the murder. The book explores much of the history of Looney’s life as Dodge tries to prove his innocence.
Rock Island Lines is the first in a series of mysteries that will be set in Mississippi River towns. Writer Frank Dodge, it seems, has a knack for getting into trouble.
Klinkenberg lives in St. Louis. He is the author of the Mississippi Valley Traveler guidebooks. Since 2007, he has driven over 125,000 miles along the Great River Road, writing about the people and places along the Mississippi River. Dean Klinkenberg: Dean@TravelPassages.com