First, you oughta know that author Mike Black is a martial artist and former Illinois police sergeant, so he knows of what he speaketh. In this second outing for security agency detective Ron Shade--his debut is in A Killing Frost--we find the detective....oh, you can read the synopsis, you don't need me for that.
Novel in a nutshell? You're gonna like Shade. Training for a kickboxing championship, saving a lost kitten, or duking it out with the bad guys, he's a wonderful guy to get to know. He may remind you of Spencer, or even of Warshawski--that combo of tough hide and soft center. It makes for a comfortable read to find yourself within that tradition. But don't get me wrong: Shade is his own man.
Windy City Knights also delivers the well-oiled plot that's a sine qua non of this genre--the wheels turn slowly at first, but that's not a failing, it's the story design. Black gives us time to get to know Shade and the other characters, and then suddenly notice how anxious you are about the plot closing in on them.
In the end, though, this story is only partially driven by plot, which is kind of unusual for a suspense novel. The bigger draw is character: these people--knight Shade of low-key chivalry, his once-a-flame Paula, the creep who abuses her, her mega-babe cousin Laurie, a boxer or two, a gangster--these people are not made of cardboard. They are what E. M. Forster called "rounded."