Hubert "Hugh" Holton grew up in Woodlawn, outside of Chicago, the only son of a police officer. In high school, he started reading detective novels from the school library—Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ian Fleming, Arthur Conan Doyle. He later said, "One of the things that I always noticed about the books was that police types were always portrayed as very stupid individuals. My father is now, as he was then, one of the smartest people I ever met. I was saying, 'How in the world are they doing this? Why are they making these officers look so stupid?'"
In July 1964, Holton himself joined the police department's cadet program, then spent a three-year tour of duty (including a seven-month stint in Vietnam) until returning to Chicago to sign up with the police academy in 1969. He was one of the first black officers to work in Wrigleyville, but after a district commander told him, "I don't need any colored tactical officers in my district," he transferred to Wentworth. Six months later, he'd moved up to plainclothes, and eventually was promoted up to commander of the Grand Crossing District.
But those early crime fiction novels continued to haunt him, and he enrolled in writing programs at Columbia College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop. In 1986, he attended a conference at Northwestern sponsored by the midwest chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and two years later took a course taught by mystery author Barbara D'Amato. Thanks to her encouragement, he subsequently published his first novel, Violent Crimes, featuring Larry Cole, a young black police officer at the start of his career, aided by an older and wiser Italian-American partner named Blackie Silvestri. Holton went on to write ten successful novels in the Cole series, but sadly, Holton died of cancer in 2001 at the age of 54.
The second installment in the thriller series featuring Chicago Police Commander Larry Cole is Windy City. While investigating the death of a fellow officer, Cole stumbles across a pattern of killings that leads him to discover that the alleged fun-loving, super rich couple Neil and Margo DeWitt have a gruesome hobby: they murder women and children using methods from Chicago-area mystery novels. Cole enlists a group of mystery writers to help him figure out where the homicidal couple will strike next. But as the body count rises, the threat hits closer to home: not only are the DeWitts responsible for killing Cole's best buddy, Margo DeWitt is setting her sights on Cole's young son as her ultimate target.
Kirkus Reviews noted, "It's the rare reader who'll put this one down as it hurtles—one chilling event after the next—to its over-the-top finale...a bravura performance."