This is one of the books I picked up in the library a few days ago and I did actually manage to finish it. I wish I could say I loved it but sadly that is not the case. I don't make a practice of rubbishing books on here and I'm not going to do so now, but I was rather disappointed.
The novel looked promising -- it's about a feisty girl reporter in Chicago at the end of the 19th century, uncovering all kinds of nasty vice and corruption. The historical detail was certainly good -- not surprising as one of the two joint authors, Helen Rappaport, is a historian as well as an ex-actress. Yes this is one of those books written by a committee, albeit a committee of two, the other one being William Horwood, a journalist. So yes, history and journalism certainly do combine here, but I thought it was all a bit too journalistic really. The chapters are short and despite a crowd of potentially interesting characters I didn't feel we got really inside any of them very satisfactorily. Of course this may partly be a result of the rather curious fact that the novel started life as Dark Hearts of Chicago and has been pruned down to a rather shorter work, goodness knows why -- economics, I suppose.
All that being said, I did want to know what happened next, and that was what kept me reading to the end. It would be very rude indeed to say this novel had a touch of the Dan Brown syndrome so I won't say that, but if good writing and in-depth characters are important to you, perhaps this may not be the book for you. If you just want a period romp, and to learn a bit more about late Victorian pornography, the Chicago meat trade, and late 19th century Chicago in general, go for it.