Marina City towers at dusk

The Marina City towers

At least once a year, I like to return to Chicago for research and inspiration. It’s been tough during the Covid lockdown, but I did head back to my hometown this month in preparation for my next book.

I focused on several spots downtown that I’ve used before in the Duncan Cochrane series. Some of these figure into my next book, which is not part of the series but is set in Chicago and tentatively titled The City Divided by the River. First among these was the Drake Hotel, one of the city’s finest, located right at the elbow of downtown along Lake Shore Drive. From our room, we could see the fireworks over Lake Michigan and easily commute to all the hotspots of the city. Previously, I used it as the setting for the first chapter of They Tell Me You Are Wicked during a fundraiser for Duncan’s campaign.

We also saw the Marina City towers, widely known as the corn cob buildings for their round, notched shape, which are Duncan’s home base in book four of the series, They Tell Me You Are Cunning.

Buckingham fountain at dusk

Buckingham Fountain

Another stop on our tour was Buckingham Fountain, which figures in my prior books and the climax of my new one. Since I wanted to see it illuminated, we rented bikes and pedaled there to catch it at sunset. It proved true to my memory, not just a tourist trap, but a true landmark of the town.

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