(Originally published as Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold)
In “A Trace of Gold” (formerly published as “Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold”), forensic scientist Sean McKinney embarks on a dangerous mission to catch a serial killer targeting associates of the Barker-Karpis gang from the 1930s. With his determination to exonerate an innocent man, McKinney puts his own life in jeopardy and must navigate a corrupt system to bring the true killer to justice.
The novel takes readers on a journey through two eras of Chicago crime, from the gritty underworld of the 1930s gangsters and gun molls to modern-day Chicago. Blending crime fiction with historical fiction, “A Trace of Gold” offers a vivid portrayal of the city’s criminal past and present, with a thrilling plot full of twists and turns. As the body count rises, McKinney risks becoming the next victim in the killer’s deadly game.
Shelf Unbound magazine selected Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold as one of five finalists in its annual Best Indie Book Competition. Referring to the novel as a “riveting page turner,” the magazine goes on to summarize the book and also prints an interview with yours truly. In her introduction, publisher Margaret Brown mentions that the winner and finalists were selected from a field of over 1,000 entries.
” A story this complex is hard to pull off, but author Chapman has the right stuff. A former forensic scientist himself, he knows that in a good novel crimes aren’t committed by cardboard characters, and they aren’t solved by them, either. The best fiction reveals great truths, and there are plenty to be had in Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold. My favorite comes from McKinney: “Law is man’s attempt to civilize society. Science is man’s attempt to reveal truth. Forensic science, then, is the intersection of civilization and truth.””—Betty Webb, Mystery Scene
“Chapman brings scientific realism and very human passions to work in his first novel, a thoroughly engaging thriller.” —Steve Steinbock, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine
“…combines the author’s trademark forensic authenticity with a vivid historical mystery to offer compelling portraits of Chicago crime in two eras.” —Linda Landrigan, Editor of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine
“Chapman…blends his expertise in analyzing evidence with a cunning plot. [He] obviously knows his stuff, from what happens at the bench in the lab through what happens in court, a stark contrast to many mystery writers who just skirt along the edges of forensics… [he] also knows his history and vividly brings to life the old Karpis/Barker bank-robbing gang of the 1930s…McKinney is a complicated hero, absolutely at home fighting the system. An intriguing and enlightening read.” —Connie Fletcher, Booklist
“Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold has a unique crime story to tell, keeps it gripping, and makes one wonder what Mr. Chapman has up his sleeve for the next novel.” —James Burt, ForeWord Reviews
“In its simplest, this is Chapman’s ode to the forensic scientist, but if you dig deep there are facets of Bright and Yellow, Hard and Cold that will have you questioning what effect greed has on us all.” —Alan Senatore, Cold Hill Review