cover images courtesy amazon

After 506 homicides in 2012, Chicago's struggle with violence is evident. The Reader has rounded up five Chicago authors tackling the topic head-on their latest books.

In her most recent novel, The Round House, Louise Erdrich examines the violence against Native American women, referring to a 2009 Amnesty International report that states one in three Native American women are raped. The book begins with the 13-year-old narrator, Joe, picking weeds on his reservation; at the same time, a bigoted white man is raping his mother, an event that rocks the family.

David McConnell explores the role masculinity plays in violence in his latest work, American Honor Killings: Desire and Rage Among. McConnell reports the stories of six instances where both the murders and victims were men, often interviewing the incarcerated prisoners, and how the cases were portrayed in the media.

Karen Russell explores storytelling in her collection of fantastical stories, Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Through characters like silkworms, dead U.S. presidents, and bloodsuckers, Russell also looks at the way pain and memory affect us when they intersect.

Dan Baum takes the reader on a road trip through gun violence in Gun Guys. The journalist investigates the debate on gun control by traveling across the U.S. in a 15,000-mile road trip, interviewing "gun guys" about their relationships with their firearms. 

The Almighty Black P Stone Nation: The Rise, Fall and Resurgence of an American Gang by Natalie Y. Moore and Lance Williams follows the five-decade evolution of the titular Chicago gang. Through this gang's history, Moore and Williams—the son of a former Vice Lord gang member—explore the wider implications of the city's enduring violence and how little has been done to end it.