Books Set in Illinois – Books Set in Chicago – Illinois Free Fiction PDF

Alice Ashland, A Romance of the World’s Fair

Neville, Edith
NY: Collier 1893

Books set in Chicago.

Calumet City

Newton, Charlie
Touchstone 2008

“Confrontational and uncompromising Patti Black, Chicago’s most decorated cop, gets caught in a web of murder and betrayal. When several unrelated cases threaten to reveal her horrific childhood as an abused runaway and teenage rape victim, Patti defies everybody to find Roland Ganz, her béte noir, who she suspects is behind the crimes; she must also locate the son she put up for adoption whom she thinks Roland is seeking. Accompanied by her sometime friend and rugby teammate, newspaper reporter Tracy Moens, she frantically follows a trail from Chicago to nearby Calumet City, the Arizona desert and back.” -Publ Wkly
“An atmospheric shocker. Newton certainly has all the hallmarks and above all the classic noir tone urban and nocturnal, stealthy and smoky, grim determination doing its two-step with gallows humor.” -Chicago Sun Times. Books set in Chicago.

The Pit

Norris, Frank
Doubleday 1903

The second volume of the author’s unfinished The Epic of Wheat trilogy “is a story of manipulations in the Chicago Exchange. Curtis Jadwin, a stock speculator, is so absorbed in making money that he neglects his emotionally starved wife Laura. Into this situation steps Sheldon Corthell, dilettante artist, to console her. Laura loves her husband, and postpones for a while going away with the aesthete. Meanwhile, Jadwin engages in a struggle with the Crookes gang of speculators. He beats them, but is crushed by fluctuations in wheat production. He and Laura effect a reconciliation.” –Haydn. Thesaurus of Book Dig. Books set in Chicago.

Ghost Country

Paretsky, Sara
Delacorte 1998

Chicagoans “Harriet and Mara Stonds have been raised in luxury by heir grandfather, famous neurosurgeon Abraham Stonds. Harriet is the apple of her grandfather’s eye—tall, blond, successful at everything she does, always the good girl. Mara plays the role of ugly stepsister, at least to her grandfather, who has told her for years that she’s lazy, stupid, and ungrateful. But things are about to change for the Stonds family. A drunken opera singer, a softhearted psychotherapist, a group of home- less women, and a mysterious visitor who performs miracles will each play a key role in opening the eyes of Harriet and Mara to a world they’ve never imagined. This book is rich, astonishing, and affecting.” -Booklist

The Man with the Iron Hand

Parish, John C.
Boston: Houghton, Mifflin 1922

About Henry de Tonty and his fellow French explorers, based on historical letters and documents of Tonty, Father Marquette, Joliet, La Salle and others.

See the resources on this site for: La Salle the Explorer

The Devil’s Own: A Romance of the Black Hawk War

Parrish, Randall
NY: Burt. 1917

George Randall Parrish (1858-1923) grew up in Kewanee, Illinois and began a legal career in Wichita, Kansas. In the early 1880s he left his law practice and worked at a number of odd jobs throughout the west, eventually becoming a newspaper reporter. When Wilderness was King (below) was the first of many novels.

The time of the story is the year of the Black Hawk war, and that outbreak has a part in the climax of the tale. It is with one of the problems of slavery, however, that the plot is concerned. In journeying down the river, Lieutenant Knox falls in with Joe Kirby, the gambler. Kirby has been playing cards with Judge Beaucaire of Missouri and has taken from him his home and all his possessions, including his slaves. From Kirby himself, Lieutenant Knox learns that the gambler’s main motive is to gain possession of Rene Beaucaire, the girl reputed to be Judge Beaucaire’s daughter, although in reality she is his granddaughter, the child of his son and a quadroon girl. Technically she is his slave. Moved by the tragic fate of this unknown girl, Knox sets out to save her a task which involves the rescue also of Eloise Beaucaire, the judge’s real daughter. – Book Review Digest. Books set in Illinois.

See the resources on this site for: The Black Hawk War of 1832

A Sword of the Old Frontier; A Tale of Fort Chartres and Detroit, being a plain account of sundry adventures befalling Chevalier Raoul de Coubert, one time Captain in the Hussars of Languedoc, during the year 1763

Parrish, Randall
Chicago: McClurg 1905

See the biographical note for Parrish at his novel above.

A plain account of sundry adventures befalling Chevalier Raoul de Coubert, one time captain in the Hussars of Languedoc, during the year 1763, in which he gallantly draws his sword for France and his English lady-love in the stirring times of Pontiac’s conspiracy. Meeting with treachery from both white men and red, he takes desperate chances, escapes from his enemies and wins honor, wealth, and love. – Book Review Digest

When Wilderness was King: a Tale of the Illinois Country

Parrish, Randall
NY: Burt. 1905

“During the second war with England. Scene, Old Fort Dearborn (site of modern Chicago); main episode, the massacre of the garrison by Pottawottomies and Wyandotte Indians, acting as allies of Great Britain; historical characters, Captain Nathan Heald and his officers, Kinzie, frontier trader, Major Wells, and several Indian chiefs.” – Guide to Historical Fiction, 1914

See the biographical note on Parrish above. “Mr. Parrish writes with colour and spirit, and his ingenuity in devising new variations in adventure is admirable.” – The Book Review Digest. Book set in Chicago.

From Timber to Town: Down in Egypt

Perley, T. E.
Chicago: McClurg. 1891

No information about Mrs. T. E. Perley or any other works by her were found. From Timber to Town Down in Egypt was written in local dialect and for that reason can’t be read quickly, but is very entertaining.

Prisoner’s Dilemma

Powers, Richard
Beech Tree 1988

“The present of the novel is late 1978. Edward Hobson’s recurring fainting spells have worsened, and two of his children—Artie, a 25-year-old law student, and Rachel, a 23-year-old actuary—have come home to DeKalb to see him, their mother, and two children still living at home, the just-divorced Lily and high school senior Eddie. During this weekend visit and a Christmas reunion in Chicago, the family tries to decide what to do about Edward’s health.” -New Repub
“Prisoner’s Dilemma is a paradigm for the nuclear game, the only door left ajar by Hobbes’s enlightened self-preservation, the dictates of right reason. Or, is Artie’s last oracular pronouncement on his father’s legacy the hard answer: ‘What we can’t bring about in no way releases us from what we must.’ We finish this novel, as we do all grand fiction, ready to figure on. Prisoner’s Dilemma is magnificent.” -Nation. Books set in Chicago.

Bolanyo; A Novel

Read, Opie Percival
Chicago: Way & Williams 1897

A Yankee from the West

Read, Opie Percival
Chicago: Rand, McNally 1898

The Shadow of Victory: A Romance of Fort Dearborn

Reed, Myrtle
NY: Knickerbocker 1903

A story of this frontier fort and the Indian wars; strongly anti-English and imbued with the Monroe doctrine. Books set in Chicago.

Hardscrabble, or, the Fall of Chicago; A Tale of Indian Warfare

Richardson, John (Major)
NY: de Witt. 1856

Major John Richardson (1796-1852) was a Canadian who fought as a British soldier alongside Indian forces led by Tecumseh in the War of 1812. After leaving the army about 1818 he divided his time between England and Canada, publishing newspapers and writing a number of military adventure stories. Books set in Chicago.

Wau-nan-gee, or, The Massacre at Chicago. A Romance of the American Revolution

Richardson Major
NY: Long and Brother 1852

See the biographical note on Richardson at his other novel, above.

When the World was Young

Romano, Tony
HarperCollins 2007

A “novel about an immigrant family during the 1950s features Angela Rosa and Agostino Peccatori, who still long for the sight of the Apennine Hills ringing their Italian hometown. With five children, however, they have no time for self-indulgence. Angela Rosa is constantly cooking and cleaning, while Agostino puts in long hours running the family-owned corner tavern. Their oldest son, Santo, is longing for a girlfriend and a job that would give him some independence, while 16-year-old Victoria, feeling suffocated by her family’s strict rules, has begun to smoke and flirt with bad-boy Eddie Milano. But when their baby brother, Benito, succumbs to a high fever, the entire family seems to come apart, each nurturing a private grief.” -Publ Wkly
‘The complexities and mysteries Of familial bonds are brought into sharp, agonizing focus. . . Romano’s tale emerges into surprising and satisfying territory.” -Chicago Sun-Times

Person of Interest

Schwegel, Theresa
St. Martin’s 2007

“Chicago PD detective Craig McHugh is deep into an undercover investigation of a deadly batch of heroin allegedly being peddled by the Fuxi Spiders, a powerful Chinese gang. Hoping to gain their trust, Craig burns through his department allowance and his own funds playing at a Fuxi card game. Meanwhile, Craig’s sullen teenage daughter, Ivy, is dragged home from a party by his police colleagues after being caught with ecstasy. Unaware of her husband’s undercover assignment, Craig’s wife, Leslie, is convinced he’s having an affair, and she soon begins flirting with Ivy’s handsome jazz-playing boyfriend.” -Publ Wkly
Schwegel “creates a portrait of a family in crisis, and her vivid characterizations — stressed husband, yearning wife, floundering daughter — lift the thriller plot of Person of Interest to literary-novel status.” -Entertainment Wkly. Books set in Chicago, books set in Illinois.

I Left My Back Door Open

Sinclair, April
Hyperion 1999

“Gun-shy after several catastrophic relationships, Chicago deejay Daphne (Dee Dee) Dupree is an outwardly successful African-American woman aching for self-realization. Sassy from the safety of her broadcasting booth, the heavy-set 41 -year-old jauntily offers her weight as the cause of a recent breakup. In reality, Dee Dee struggles with the shame of being fat and bulimic. She yearns for mature love and the self-confidence she’s sure will accompany finding the right man.” Publ Wkly
“Many readers will respond to this novel’s honesty, to its colloquial humor and to its exacting exploration of Daphne’s relationship woes” -N Y Times Book Rev. Books set in Chicago, books set in Illinois.

The Jungle

Sinclair, Upton
Doubleday 1906

“Jurgis Rudkus, an immigrant from Lithuania, arrives in Chicago with his father, his fiancée, and her family. He is determined to make a life for his bride in the new country. The deplorable conditions in the stockyards and the harrowing experiences of impoverished workers are vividly described by the author.” -Shapiro. Fic for Youth. Books set in Chicago, books set in Illinois.

Dynasty; A Novel of Chicago’s Industrial Evolution

Sklovsky, Max
Americana House 1958

Books set in Chicago.

The Lemon Jelly Cake

Smith, Madeline Babcock
Little 1952

“A humorous, affectionate portrayal of family life in a small Illinois town at the turn of the century. The story revolves around two inquisitive eleven-year-old girls who take a personal interest in all neighborhood activities.” -Booklist. Books set in Illinois.

Racer of Illinois

Somerville, Henry (Mary Gay Humphreys)
NY: McClure, Phillips 1902

Books set in Illinois.

Mr. X

Straub, Peter
Random House 1999

“From childhood, Ned Dunstan has experienced precognitive visions. Summoned home to Edgerton, Ill., by a premonition of his mother’s death on the eve of his 35th birthday, Ned finds himself implicated in a tangle of felonies and murders, all of which point to someone strenuously manipulating events to frame him. Digging into local history, he finds reason to believe that the mysterious father he never knew, or possibly a malignant doppelgänger, are pulling the strings. . . [Straub’s] evocative prose, a seamless splice of clipped hard-boiled banter and poetic reflection, contributes to the thick atmosphere of apprehension that makes this one of the most invigorating horror reads of the year.” Publ Wkly. Book set in Illinois.

The Throat

Straub, Peter
Signet 1994

In this conclusion to the author’s trilogy “the citizens of Millhaven, Ill., thought they had overcome the unsolved serial murders that plagued the town in the 1940s – the killer had scrawled the words ‘Blue Rose’ near the bodies – but another resident has just fallen prey to a new Blue Rose. The victim’s husband, John Ransom, enlists the aid of Tim Underhill, a high school buddy and fellow Vietnam vet who has written a book about the murders. Although Tim thinks of his hometown as ‘oddly interchangeable’ with Vietnam. he returns to join forces with famed local sleuth Tom Pasmore to solve both the earlier and the later murders. Painted from a darkly colorful palette. Straub’s characters inhabit a razor-edged world of unremitting suspense.” Publ Wkly. Books set in Illinois.

Ray Burton: A Chicago Tale

Train, M.
Chicago: 1895

Books set in Chicago.

1929

Turner, Frederick W.
Counterpoint 2003

“A brilliant cornet player with an amazing ear, (Bix Beiderbeck] drank himself to death at the age of 28 with illegal Prohibition liquor. . . Turner offers a fictional take on Beiderbecke’s life, giving readers a . . picture of what life was like for jazz musicians in the years leading up to the Great Depression.” -Publ Wkly
‘ ‘Written in a period-appropriate overheated, romantic prose, and incorporating memorable appearances by Capone, Bing Crosby, Maurice Ravel, Paul Whiteman, and Clara Bow, the book is by turns corny, intoxicating, and ineffably sad, like the ‘hot’ music it is designed to evoke.” -New Yorker. Books set in Chicago.

Mary Wollaston

Webster, Henry Kitchell
Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill 1920

“Two emotional situations complicate this novel. One is the triangular relationship involving Mary, her father, and Paula, her beautiful stepmother. The other grows out of the fact that Mary, while engaged in war work in New York, has had a casual love affair with a young soldier bound for overseas. Once she tries to tell her brother, but he will not listen. Again she tries to tell her father, but he refuses to believe, thinking that Mary in her innocence doesn’t know what she is talking about. Finally she flings the truth in the face of young Graham Stannard, who in asking her to marry him, persists in treating her as a whited saint. The situation is saved by Anthony March, who listens to Mary’s story, understands it and loves her none the less for it. Anthony also resolves the difficulty in the other situation. Anthony is a composer of genius and Paula is an opera singer, and there is much musical talk in the story.”
“This will be pronounced immoral by some readers. The analysis of women’s thoughts and emotions is illuminating; a book that women rather than men will read.”
“This novel has both the faults and the merits of its subject-matter, which is a representative cross-section of American metropolitan life in the immediate wake of the great war.”
“The most interesting thing about ‘Mary Wollaston’ and the chief reason for reading it is that it is so accurately contemporary. The young generation seem to be frightening their elders in these days, and perhaps this novel will explain the fear without allaying it.”
– The Book Review Digest

The Russells in Chicago

Wheaton, Emily
Boston: Page 1901

Books set in Chicago.

Native Son

Wright, Richard
Harper & Brothers 1940

Bigger Thomas is black. He is driven by anger, hate, and frustration, which are born out of the poverty that has dominated his life. When he gets a job with the Daltons, a white family, he is confused by their behavior and misinterprets their patronizing friendship. Tragedy follows when he accidentally kills Mary Dalton and escalates when Bigger murders his black girlfriend, Bessie.” -Shapiro. Fic for Youth


BOOK COLLECTIONS – Illinois Novels

Illinois Fiction Collection – Books Set in Illinois – Books Set in Chicago

Books set in Illinois. This group of about 270 modern books by major publishers, free and online, was found in a search for ‘Illinois Fiction’ in the Internet Archive book collection. The metadata in their database entries indicates that these are books that take place in Illinois. Some authors are: Kate Klise, Eleanor Taylor Bland, Nancy Steele Brokaw, Joan Anderson, William Diehl, Maud Casey, James D. Nowlan, Lutricia Clifton, Madeline Babcock Smith, Drew Ferguson, Luisa Buehler, Charlene Ann Baumbich, Taffy Cannon, Ralph McInerny, Charles Dickinson, Jennifer Stevenson, Cheryl Wyatt, Joseph Flynn, Leslie Kelly, Angela Davis-Gardner, Ray Bradbury, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Becky Melby, Ann Shorey, Betty Jo Schuler, Andrew M. Greeley. Illinois novels online, books set in Illinois.

‘Collections’ take longer to appear on your screen than single books.  On a phone, only about 25 books in a collection may appear.

Chicago Fiction Collection – Books Set in Chicago

Books that take place in Chicago Illinois. This collection of over 850 free online books on Internet Archive consists of the search result for ‘Chicago Fiction’. Most are books that take place in Chicago Illinois, or were authored by Chicago writers. Some authors are: Billy Lombardo, Arthur Byron Cover, Michael Corcoran, Theresa Schwegel, Sara Paretsky, Max Allan Collins, Mary Kubica, Diana Palmer, Julie Garwood, P.N. Elrod, John Grisham, Lisa McMann, Jill Churchill, Eleanor Taylor Bland, Jillian Laarkin, Stuart Dybek, Mark Richard Zubro, Kris Nelscott. Illinois novels online, books set in Illinois, books set in Chicago, books that take place in Chicago.

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