From the author of Cold Fury and the upcoming Flicker and Burn - out August 20th. I really enjoy these books featuring the Chicago mob, danger, and lots of action. Welcome Ted!
Hiding in Plain Sight
Sometimes the best way to preserve a place is for the general public to ignore it. If enough years pass and a location doesn’t alter its appearance too much, people get used to it to the point of invisibility.
Throughout the COLD FURY trilogy, I use many real Chicago locations that have existed for decades. Few rival the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge for pure, undiluted criminal history.
Originally opened in 1907, The Green Mill was secretly owned by Al Capone less than twenty years later. In FLICKER & BURN, I mention a thug named ‘Machine Gun’ Jack McGurn who served as Capone’s chief enforcer. He was an Outfit killer who enjoyed his work, pressing a nickel into the hands of his victims as a trademark.
Although unproven, it’s believed that McGurn planned and carried out the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on February 14th, 1929, when seven members of a rival gang were lined up and shot, execution style. As a reward for being such a skillful murderer, Capone gave McGurn part ownership of the Green Mill. The place became renowned for Jazz and the famous musicians who performed there.
Capone was sent to jail in 1932 and McGurn’s end came soon afterward. On February 13, 1933 – one day before Valentine’s Day – he was gunned down in a bowling alley. A valentine card was pressed into one of his hands; the other held a single, cold nickel.
The Green Mill has lived on through a succession of owners who’ve barely changed a detail from McGurn’s day. The sign, bar, bandstand, booths, murals, and Jazz are the same as the day he died. Passing through the door is like drifting into 1927. Most Chicagoans don’t notice the Green Mill because it exists; if it were gone, the absence would be glaring.
It’s an apt metaphor for the criminal world that my protagonist, Sara Jane Rispoli, is a part of in FLICKER & BURN. The Chicago Outfit is here, there, everywhere, and nowhere, all at the same time.
This just in...Ted's in Trouble. Again.