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Painted Black
Debra R. Borys
Painted Black is a novel about two Chicago street people, teenagers not even old enough to vote or fight for their country or drink a beer, legally that is. They’ve been kicked in the face, cursed and, worst of all, ignored and yet they continue to say screw you. They fight to survive, to thrive.

Lexie Green has been selling herself for drug money ever since her mama kicked her out at thirteen. A dope sick street kid will do anything to get high again. Anything to scratch the itchy palms, ease the stomach cramps, control the vomiting. But when she’s asked to pose nude with a bizarre collection of freeze-dried corpses–the freak show seems too much to face alone.

Christopher Robert Young, Cry for short, couldn’t use addiction as an excuse. He told himself he went with Lexie to keep her safe, that it had nothing to do with his struggle to avoid hustling along the harbor like Tito and the others. Selling blowjobs for forty bucks, however, pales in comparison to the macabre scene he finds at Sloan and Whiteside’s funeral home where they freeze dry the dead like special order pizzas.

Until she met Lexie and Chris, reporter Jo Sullivan’s column at Winds of Change was just a job to pay the bills. But when the young girl, with her haunting eyes and eerie tale, disappears, Jo finds herself caught up in the lives of those homeless people she used to just write about. As she and Chris try to unravel the twisted mystery at Sloan and Whiteside’s, Jo can’t help comparing the dark heart of the city with the dark shadows in her own family’s past.
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