Painted Black’s protagonist, Jo Sullivan, has been a busy little reporter since she filed her completed story on Chris and Lexie.
Meet Snow Ramirez, the bi-polar street kid about to turn 18. She’s convinced that psychiatrist Mordechai Levinson is responsible for one kid’s suicide, and may be targeting her brother Alley as his next victim. Once again, Jo finds herself the only person willing to listen to one of Chicago’s throwaway youth.
A stray dog looked up from a pile of trash when Snow passed, ready to run if he had to. She crossed California to the alley behind a half demolished building. A dumpster sat, half filled with rubble from the destruction, and there was a spot between it and the wall where the ground was still dry. Snow pushed her way in, butt first, using her backpack as a cushion. Wind kicked up the light snow around the building.
Squatting with her arms tight around her legs and forehead pressed to her knees, Snow rocked on the balls of her feet. To the south, the hum of traffic along the Eisenhower Expressway. Nearer, beneath the dumpster, the scurry of rats looking for supper. That feeling in her center, the one she couldn’t describe except to say when she was a kid she thought it meant she was going to die, tightened her chest, filled her mouth, made it hard to breathe.
“You must learn to trust,” the shrink had told her. “You must learn who to trust. Your brother is learning that, even if you can’t.”