Polis Books

Available now in hardcover and ebook!

ONE OF THE “SUMMER READS GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOUR HEART THUMP AND SKIN CRAWL”―The New York Times

ONE OF THE "MUST-READ BOOKS FOR SUMMER 2021"
―The Chicago Tribune

2021 INTERNATIONAL LATINO BOOK AWARD MEDALIST

NOTABLE MENTION "THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR; CRIME FICTION 2021"―CrimeReads

ONE OF "THE BEST NEW CRIME NOVELS"―Book Riot

"Pelayo masterfully ratchets up the tension and the scares. Robert McCammon fans will be pleased."
―Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"With superior worldbuilding, a relentless pace, a complex heroine, and a harrowing story that preys off of current events as much as its well-developed monster, this is a stellar horror novel that fires on all cylinders, from the first page through to its horrible conclusion. For fans of dark fantasy based on fairy tales such as Seanan McGuire’s 'Wayward Children' series or novels by Helen Oyeyemi, with just the right touch of Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski."
Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Pelayo has crafted a love story to Chicago, particularly the Latinx community, weaving history, culture, and landmarks into the fabric of the story until the city practically breathes. It is also a love story to fairy tales, and Pelayo intersperses retellings throughout the book, examining the structure, meaning, and value of the original tales. Pelayo's dark, reimagined fairy tale will have readers leaving their lights on long after they’ve turned the last page." ―Booklist

"Part police procedural, all horror, Cynthia Pelayo's CHILDREN OF CHICAGO is an immensely entertaining and thoroughly chilling novel, which just so happens to combine two of my favorite things: Chicago and fairytales. I challenge you not to have a good time with Pelayo's book. The confidence and style on display here say she's destined to become one of the greats."―Kealan Patrick Burke, Bram Stoker Award-Winning author of SOUR CANDY, KIN, and THE TURTLE BOY


A modern-day homage to the fairy tale, as well a love letter to the underworld of Chicago.

Reminiscent of the “Bloody Mary” urban legend, the Pied Piper’s story can be traced back to the deaths of children for centuries and across the world—call to him for help with your problems, but beware when he comes back asking for payment.

Chicago detective Lauren Medina's latest call brings her to investigate a brutally murdered teenager in Humboldt Park—a crime eerily similar to the murder of her sister decades before. Unlike her straight-laced partner, she recognizes the crime, and the new graffiti popping up all over the city, for what it really means: the Pied Piper has returned. When more children are found dead, Lauren is certain her suspicion is correct. Still reeling from the recent death of her father, she knows she must find out who has summoned him again, and why, before more people die. Lauren’s torn between protecting the city she has sworn to keep safe, and keeping a promise she made long ago with her sister’s murderer. She may have to ruin her life by exposing her secrets and lies to stop the Pied Piper before he collects.