Wild Onion Series

david j. walkerThe name "Chicago" is derived from a native American word for "wild onion." So, when Kirsten, a former Chicago police investigator, opens up her private detective agency she calls it "Wild Onion, Ltd." (By the way, that's a photo of a wild onion plant. They look a lot better than they smell!)

Kirsten's husband, Dugan, is a personal injury lawyer who finds himself drawn into her cases. Though he may feign a reluctance to help, Dugan is actually far more intrigued with Kirsten's work than with his own.

Here are the six Wild Onion, Ltd. books, in order of publication:

coverA Ticket to Die For (St. Martin's, 1998)

A Ticket to Die For

"[David J. Walker] brings his crisp dialogue, a fine comic edge, and a cast of sharply drawn supporting characters to a new series... The spotlight, however, belongs to the leads, whose interplay is not cutesy, and will have readers looking forward to the next in the series."
Publishers Weekly

"A slick read that pushes forward with wonderful speed. Kirsten's mix of sass and charm and Dugan's blend of suspicion and caution make for some high-stepping dialogue... [T]he intensity of the scenes holds you inside the story all the way to the end."
Washington Post

"As richly plotted as Mal Foley's... cases, but good for a lot more laughs—and a perfect introduction to the talented author."
Kirkus Reviews

"An eye-popping plot, wacky characters, oddball humor, and, best of all, the delightful [Kirsten and Dugan] in a story that's fresh, funny, and thoroughly entertaining."
Booklist

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coverA Beer at a Bawdy House (St. Martin's, 2000)

A Beer at a Bawdy House

Chicago bishop Peter Keegan is everything a man of the cloth should be. But when a blackmailer threatens to reveal a long-ago secret, he turns for help to Wild Onion, Ltd.

"The Edgar-nominated author has created a second compelling and enjoyable series... with well-drawn characters, serpentine plots and atmospheric setting."
Publishers Weekly

"Walker leads us through a complicated and eventful plot, full of baffling incidents and behavior—baffling until the end when all the pieces fall into place neatly. This is an accomplished, well-crafted private eye novel..."
The Drood Review

"The reader believes he/she knows what is going on, and why, but Walker's too clever to reveal eveything, and I admit to being fooled."
Mystery News

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coverThe End of Emerald Woods (St. Martin's, 2000)

The End of Emerald Woods

"John Michael Hurley, an unscrupulous commercial real estate developer, wants to turn pristine Emerald Woods... south of Chicago, into a megamall. Eudora Ragsdale, a former public housing resident in Chicago, joins with others in Miracle City to form CREW (Committee to Rescue Emerald Woods). As CREW's treasurer, Eudora finds herself in big trouble when someone steals cash raised to benefit CREW from her home. Alerted to the theft, husband-and-wife team Dugan and Kirsten of the Wild Onion private investigative firm head for Miracle City... Throw in the humorous banter between Kirsten and Dugan, and you have a wonderful mix of fun, local Midwest charm and a compelling plot."
Publishers Weekly

"There have been numerous attempts to create modern versions of Nick and Nora Charles, but [Walker's] Kirsten and Dugan are the most fun."
Booklist

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coverAll the Dead Fathers (St. Martin's, 2005)

All the Dead Fathers

In All the Dead Fathers, a self-appointed executioner sets out to cleanse the world of priests accused of sexual misconduct, and Kirsten finds herself personally involved in putting an end to the mayhem.

"The fast-pace, well-rendered cast, and solid Midwest flavor make this a potential crowd-pleaser."
Publishers Weekly

"A chilling backstory makes Wild Onion's fourth a complex and creepy puzzler."
Kirkus Reviews

"A timely mystery with a plot focused on controversial contemporary events... Walker writes with a sure hand and a fine eye for character and plot. His story is both thought-provoking and entertaining."
Chicago Sun-Times

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coverToo Many Clients (Severn House, 2010)

Too Many Clients

When a Chicago cop is murdered, Dugan gets dragged into the case, and Kirsten, though knowing it's unwise to have a spouse as a client, undertakes to drag him back out. Soon she has not one, but three, clients. They all want her to find the killer... or at least they all say they do. Meanwhile, who's trying to shut down the police homicide investigation? And what's the U.S. government got to do with it? Read an excerpt!

"Walker's latest in his popular Wild Onion series combines all-too-human characters, creative plotting, snappy dialogue, and a solid mystery...  Engaging, appealing, and entertaining." 
—Booklist

"Kirsten and Dugan are the kind of couple who'll restore your faith in matrimony... so you find yourself pulling for them... [Walker's] brilliant descriptions of Chicago area scenes—from the familiar such as '26th and Cal' (the Cook County Criminal Courts complex) to the off-the-beaten-path, like Canal Origins Park behind the Sun-Times printing plant—allow even lifelong Chicagoans to see the city in a different light.  Walker ranks with the cream of a bumper crop of Chicago yarn spinners."
Chicago Sun-Times

"Another sparkling crime novel in the Wild Onion series.  It's always a pleasure to open a book knowing you are in the hands of an experienced storyteller... The novel is well-paced, complicated, and a truly fun read. I look for more cheeky stories in Walker's Wild Onion series."
Carl Brookins
By the way, here's a picture of the very cool Carl Brookins:
carl

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The Towman's Daughters (Severn House, 2011)

The Towman's Daughters

coverBeing a hero is definitely not on Dugan's to-do list when he charges into Wancho's Towing Service at one a.m. The impulsive (and, let's admit it, slightly tarnished) Chicago lawyer just wants to retrieve his towed car and go home.  But instead, his Sir Galahad genes kick in and he rescues Isobel Cho from an armed abductor... only to discover that things aren't always what they seem.  Soon Isobel goes missing, and it's up to Kirsten and Dugan to find out what's really happening to Isobel, and to put a stop to it. Yes, Isobel's father, a thuggish towing company owner, wants to put an end to her relationship with the son of a US senator; and yes, the senator herself wants that even more badly. But there are things afoot here beyond a romance between "star-cross'd lovers." Things like greed and betrayal, politics and murder... and how far a father's love for his daughters will drive him.
And oh, will Dugan and Kirsten ever have that child they've been longing for? Read an excerpt!

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