From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. All the elements that have made Estleman one of the best hard-boiled writers of all time--just a notch below Chandler and Hammett--are present in these 32 short stories. Remarkably, he has kept his Detroit-based Amos Walker series (Motor City Blue) fresh after three decades and 20 novels, and any fan of the genre who has yet to encounter the ex-cop turned PI will get a great introduction through this collection. What's most impressive is Estleman's ability to blend sharp-edged language, cynical characters, betrayals, twists, and a memorable narrative voice within the short story format. He also manages to inject dark humor into his work that keeps the violence, corruption, and double-crosses from becoming too grim ("I don't have so many friends I can afford to drop one just because he tried to kill me"). Longtime fans will welcome the author's informative introduction.
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Hard-boiled Detroit private investigator Amos Walker debuted 30 years ago in the novel Motor City Blue (1980). The series has earned Estleman four Shamus Awards, and two entries in the series were New York Times Notable Books selections. The 32 stories in the collection range from standard missing-person cases, to a bizarre investigation that hinges on a tattoo, to a few in which Walker ventures outside his black-and-white hometown to the greener but sometimes more deadly Michigan countryside. In the latter category is “Cigarette Stop” in which deadly trouble follows Walker after he makes a simple stop for a pack of smokes. Walker investigates a possible suicide in “Major Crimes” for an insurance company looking to avoid a large life insurance payout. Even Walker’s cynicism is tested when everyone involved in the case—including the insurance company—is complicit in the victim’s death. Walker has a built-in audience of devoted fans; new readers who check out this sampler will be pleased to know they have 30 years of fine novels waiting for them. --Wes Lukowsky