More than 100 people joined local author Curtis Wideman on Sept. 25 at Levy Senior Center for a celebration of his new children’s book, Detective Blue & the Crew. The book was available for purchase at the event, along with Wideman’s first book, Top Dog, published in 2016. The atmosphere was festive, with free food, a balloon artist for the kids and a chance for families to socialize on a beautiful autumn afternoon.

Mary Rosinski (left) and Sue Leoni (right) showcase their signed copies of Detective Blue and the Crew with author Curtis Wideman. Credit: Heidi Randhava

Community members, friends, family, and visitors of all ages lined up from 3 to 5 p.m. to have their books signed and pose for photos with Wideman, a former Evanston Township High School track and field stand-out who continued his athletic career at Southern Illinois University. He graduated in 2015 with a bachelor of arts in communication and went on to get a master’s of science in kinesiology.

For Wideman, the book signing was an “amazing day for giving back and inspiring youth.” He said his books were inspired by his own experiences growing up in Evanston and the people who motivated and encouraged him to succeed. 

Detective Blue & the Crew is dedicated in part to “the men and women who wear BLUE,” who build trust between police and the citizens they are tasked to protect. A main character in the book is based on Wideman’s brother, Evanston Police Department Detective Kyle Wideman.

Wideman signs a copy of Detective Blue and the Crew for the Cherestal family. Credit: Heidi Randhava

“It’s really cool to see myself, my partner, and our [K-9] dog be a part of this book,” Kyle Wideman said. “My brother has done an amazing job with the thoughtfulness behind the book … It really goes to show the positive nature of policing. It shows that police officers are good for the community – that they’re there to help people.”

Curtis Wideman also dedicates his book to minority business owners, “especially those in the Evanston community,” saying he hoped “to illustrate the importance of entrepreneurship and show how it can be achieved.”

The summary on the back cover of the book reveals enough to make the book a must-read, especially for Evanston residents.

People of all ages celebrate Wideman’s new book. Credit: Heidi Randhava

“Come along for an exciting ride with Blue, a K-9 detective dog, and his crew as they hit the E-Town streets. They’ll show you around town and take you on an amazing adventure as they serve and protect their E-Town community … all before spotting the bad guys and saving the day!”

The book, which will be officially released on Dec. 6, will be available for $18.95 from Amplify Publishing Group, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Books-a-Million. Readers who wish to purchase the book prior to its official release can email the author at

Heidi Randhava is an award winning reporter who has a deep commitment to community engagement and service. She has written for the Evanston RoundTable since 2016.