Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jack Clark  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Non-Fiction

Born: 1949 in Chicago, Illinois

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Illinois Connection

Clark has lived and worked in Chicago his entire life.

Biographical and Professional Information

Jack Clark is an award-winning journalist, an acclaimed novelist, a singer-songwriter and a Chicago cab driver. He wrote for the weekly paper the Chicago Reader years ago, but left journalism for the world of writing fiction and picking up fares. Clark has been driving cabs for 30 years and written three books. His story caught the eye of Fresh Air contributor Dave Davies, who drove a cab in Philadelphia before entering journalism.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Westerfield's Chain
ISBN: 031228960X

Minotaur Books. 2002

It was another nothing case. That's the only kind private eye Nick Acropolis seemed to get lately. But this one leads to Westerfield's Pharmacy, which sits in the heart of Chicago's West Side ghetto, surrounded by ruins.

Nick was a real cop years ago, a homicide detective, and there's something about the drugstore that gets the old juices flowing. There's no customers for one thing. No pharmacist either, and nobody seems to know where the boss, Eugene Westerfield, has gone.

And then Becky Westerfield shows up. She's taken a sudden leave from medical school to look for her father, who didn't call on her 25th birthday. Becky knows something must be wrong. Eugene Westerfield would never forget.

Becky and Nick join forces, going from one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country to one of its wealthiest suburbs. They visit housing projects, the morgue, and a decrepit nursing home, hidden away between railroad lines.

Becky discovers a city she never knew existed, and Nick surveys some depressing old haunts. Together, they eventually find Eugene Westerfield. But along the way they stumble into an intricate scheme of fraud and murder. Becky discovers that her father isn't the man she'd thought he was.

With a plot reminiscent of Graham Greene's The Third Man and inspired by real events, Chicago native Jack Clark has crafted a winning first mystery.

On the Home Front: My Mother's Story of Everyday American Life from Prohibition Through WW II
ISBN: B000H2MPHC

Plume, Paperback(2002). 2002

A Chicago cabdriver shares his mother's charming, homespun tales of history shaping everyday life, defining an era and a generation.

"Did I tell you about when President Harding died? I was nine. August, 1923. We lived on Flournoy Street..."

So begins one of Mary Jo Clark's oral snapshots of her uniquely American life.

Born in 1914 on Chicago's West Side to first-generation Irish immigrants, Mary Jo was the fourth of seven children. Her father Jack was a marble worker, her mother Maude a commercial color artist. Through Mary Jo's endearing first-person accounts, time stands still and we are afforded a privileged glimpse of a world gone by.

Mary Jo's distinctive style animates these touching and sometimes lighthearted stories of family and friends, love and war, school and work. Through her words and images, we are transported to a sun-warmed living room, where we sip tea while sifting through a box of old photos, as our own past plays itself out, sprung from memory like a much-loved song. Arranged thematically and accompanied by family photos of the people and places she recalls, On the Home Front captures unforgettable moments in American history and a mother's cherished memories.

Nobody's Angel (Hard Case Crime)
ISBN: 0843963271

Hardcase Crime. 2010

While Chicago cabbie Eddie Miles drives the city streets late at night, two killers--one targeting prostitutes, the other cab drivers--stalk the shadows, and one night, Eddie sees one of them in action. Reissue. 150,000 first printing.

Hack Writing & Other Stories
ISBN: 1477614621

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012

These 17 stories which first appeared in the Chicago Reader, cover everything from art to taxicabs. In between you'll find stories about pauper burials, the newspaper business, a high school cheating scandal, accidents and saloons. One element the stories have in common is the city of Chicago.

Highway Side (Nick Acropolis)
ISBN: 147518218X

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012

Chicago private detective Nick Acropolis goes to rural McKinley, Illinois--a town along the old and legendary Route 66--to investigate the case of Jesse Lopez, a truck driver charged with smuggling drugs. Nick meets truck stop waitress Maddy Miller. Her teenage son Billy has been missing for over a year. Nick heads out to Southern California, the end of that same lost highway. This is where Billy Miller was last seen. It's also where Jesse Lopez began his trip. Could the two cases be connected? "Westerfield's Chain," the first Nick Acropolis novel, was a Shamus Award finalist. "A great read," --Publishers Weekly "A pure delight for many reasons, not the least of which is the way Jack Clark celebrates and rings a few changes of the familiar private eye script...There's a memorable moment [on] virtually every page." --Chicago Tribune "A likeable protagonist and spirited, uncluttered prose." --Kirkus Reviews "Jack Clark's descriptions are beautifully haunting and his plotting is exceptional." Romantic Times. Jack Clark is also the author of "Nobody's Angel." "A gem...[without] a wasted word or a false note." --Washington Post "Heartbreaking... Captivating. Clark's true subject [is] his city. Each page turn feels like real, authentic Chicago." --Chicago Sun-Times

Dancing on Graves
ISBN: 1475254393

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2012

Chicago private eye Nick Acropolis is back with a new adventure. Billy Mansfield has been on Death Row for more than 20 years, and Nick helped put him there in his days as a Chicago homicide detective. Now he's asked to find evidence to free him. Could Billy Mansfield really be innocent? "Westerfield's Chain," the first Nick Acropolis novel, was a Shamus Award finalist. "A great read," --Publishers Weekly "A pure delight for many reasons, not the least of which is the way Jack Clark celebrates and rings a few changes of the familiar private eye script...There's a memorable moment [on] virtually every page." --Chicago Tribune "A likeable protagonist and spirited, uncluttered prose." --Kirkus Reviews "Jack Clark's descriptions are beautifully haunting and his plotting is exceptional." Romantic Times. Jack Clark is also the author of "Nobody's Angel." "A gem...[without] a wasted word or a false note." --Washington Post "Heartbreaking... Captivating. Clark's true subject [is] his city. Each page turn feels like real, authentic Chicago." --Chicago Sun-Times

Back Door to L.A.
ISBN: 1479392545

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. 2016

Eddie Miles is a Chicago cabdriver who spends most of his waking hours behind the wheel of his night-shift taxi. His only friends are a small circle of fellow cabbies. He lost his wife to divorce years ago. She then moved west out to Southern California, taking their nine year old daughter, Laura, along for the ride. When Laura shows up unexpectedly one winter day, Eddie thinks it’s the answer to his prayers. She’s no longer a little girl. She’s 18 and to Eddie she’s smart, funny, and beautiful. But she won’t talk about why she suddenly decided to come home. Eddie’s afraid to push for answers. He’s afraid the bubble will pop and one day it does. Eddie is soon on his way to California, in search of answers to his many unasked questions. This is a follow up to “Nobody’s Angel,” which was published by Hard Case Crime in 2010. The Washington Post called that book “A gem,” and “just about perfect.”


Awards

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