Hidden City

Thriller novelist Marcus Sakey knows good stories—and bad behavior. Now Marcus goes from city to city to identify three crimes or criminals that reveal the real character of the place.

Marcus on street in front of store, no-blur

Gleaming highrises, glamorous shopping, gourmet restaurants. If that’s all you see of a place, Seattle’s the same as Shanghai. Cities are more than brick and concrete. They’re made of stories. And the best stories are usually about the worst people.

Thriller novelist Marcus Sakey knows good stories—and bad behavior. To research his bestselling books, he’s traveled the country with cops and killers alike. Now Marcus goes from city to city to identify three crimes or criminals that reveal the real character of the place.

Take Chicago. Marcus tells us how this city is famous for reinventing itself through its checkered past. He’ll look at America’s first—and maybe worst—serial killer, walk in the footsteps of John Dillinger, and dig into the 1968 DNC riots, when protestors clashed with police in a battle royal broadcast live to the world.

But this isn’t just interviews and scenery. This is real life with no restraint. Chicago police were trained in riot control techniques, so he straps on some pads and picks up a baton. And the protestors were hit with Mace—so Marcus takes a blast right in the eyes. And through it all, he interprets the events as a novelist, looking for the plot, characters, and themes that put it all together.

“Who” and “what” tell you everything about “where.” The gallows humor of a South Central gang cop is a better insight into Los Angeles than a studio tour or a trip to the beach. Meet with the Boston FBI in the morning and drink with a Southie bank robber at night, and you’ll see the city in a whole new light.

As Marcus travels, he’s packing his preconceived notions, his attitude, and his willingness to be unimpressed. He’ll walk the streets, meet the characters, and take a few bruises, all to get the stories that reveal the Hidden City.

It’s going to be a wild ride.

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