Theresa Schwegel
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Theresa Schwegel


Officer Down

Winner of the Edgar® for Best First Novel Officer Down

Samantha Mack is a Chicago police officer whose chain-smoking, tough-as-nails persona belies a turbulent and often disappointing personal life. Roped into riding patrol with her ex-partner—and ex-boyfriend—Fred Maloney, Sam is excited to learn that he's got a lead on Marco Trovic, a bail-jumping child molester who was one of her first collars. But the bust goes horribly wrong. A firefight breaks out, and by the time Sam regains consciousness from a blow to the head, Fred has been shot and killed—with bullets from her own gun.

The department wants to declare the death "friendly fire" and sweep it under the rug. Reeling with grief, Sam is placed on administrative leave and offered little support from anyone, including her married lover, detective Mason Imes. Desperate to clear her name, Sam launches her own investigation, but is stymied by a meddling Internal Affairs officer, as well as her own sergeant, who threatens to take her badge if she keeps pushing. Eventually, persistence and detective work fueled by righteous rage lead her to an elaborate drug ring, supervised by an ever-expanding cast of suspects—including Imes, who increasingly appears to be more involved in Fred's death than she wants to believe.

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"...a powerful and compelling first effort that promises good things to come..."
   —Chicago Sun Times

"Schwegel's sympathetic protagonist and fast-paced action turns out an impressive, gripping first novel."
   —Publishers Weekly

"Readers at last can enjoy a tough-gal yarn with heaps of moral ambiguity and good guys gone bad. In the end, it's clear that Mack isn't your average cop. And considering the company she keeps, that's probably just as well."
   —San Francisco Chronicle

"Credible cop background and evocative Chicago scenes add to the pleasures of this memorable first novel."

"Schwegel, who writes about police work with authority, has created a tough and original character.... as honest as they come..."
   —Chicago Tribune

Minotaur Books, hardcover, August 2005, ISBN: 9780312343149
St. Martin's Paperbacks, mass market paperback, October 2006, ISBN: 9780312942113
Minotaur Books, ebook, April 2010