Allium Press, Forest Park’s own upstart independent publishing company, is celebrating the release of its seventh and eighth titles Sunday, Sept. 16, at Centuries and Sleuths bookstore, 7419 Madison St. at 2 p.m.

Author Frances McNamara will read from her fourth Emily Cabot mystery, Death at Woods Hole.

McNamara, a librarian at University of Chicago, was the first author Allium published three years ago. The book’s heroine leaves the Chicago Pullman strike of 1894 behind and vacations in Cape Cod, where she uncovers a murder.

Wilmette author David Walker will read from Company Orders, a thriller on two continents about a Chicago Catholic priest.

“David has already written 10 or 11 books,” said Allium’s owner, former librarian and book designer Emily Victorson. “But because of the economy crashing and the publishing industry crashing, the New York publishers are squeezing out the midlist authors, even if they have a good track record.”

Victorson was glad to snap him up. It helped that he shared a writers group with Allium author Libby Fischer Hellman, who just published a novel about Chicagoans living in Iran during the 1973 revolution, Bitter Veil.

The company has developed its own publishing niche, said Victorson.

“I’ve met lots of Chicago publishers since 2009, but we’re the only ones publishing fiction with a Chicago connection. And people seem to like our books.”

In fact, Allium’s marketing slogan is “Rescuing Chicago from Al Capone… one book at a time.”

Victorson credits a lot of her success with the camaraderie in Forest Park. She especially appreciates the support she gets from Augie Aleksy at Centuries and Sleuths. “Augie has been extremely supportive to our company and wonderful person.”

Even with changes in publishing and the sluggish economy, she says she’s cautiously optimistic.

“I’m just going to keep publishing books until someone tells me to stop,” she said.

Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...