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The Chicago Way Hardcover – August 21, 2007

91 customer reviews

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Hardcover, August 21, 2007
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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Significant Seven, August 2007: Michael Harvey’s gritty debut, The Chicago Way, rips the classic crime novels of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett from their 30s origins and slams them like a brass fist into the teeth of modern-day Chicago. All of the pieces are here: Chandler’s Byzantine plots and tack-sharp dialogue; a smorgasbord of knuckle sandwiches to sate the die-hard Hammett fan; and a damaged dame (platinum blonde, natch), straight out of a James Cain roadside diner. Seemingly destined for noir greatness, The Chicago Way both respects its gnarled roots and catapults hardboiled crime fiction into a new century. --Jon Foro

P.I. Michael Kelly's Chicago
So where does a detective go to quench his thirst in the Windy City? The author offers Kelly's top five places to get a pint.

1. The Hidden Shamrock, 2723 North Halsted Street
Best pint of Guinness in the city. Besides, Kelly knows the owners.

2. Celtic Crossings, 751 North Clark Street
A print of James Joyce’s death mask hangs in a frame behind the bar. Around closing, it’s the liveliest-looking thing in the place.

3. Billy Goat Tavern, 430 North Michigan Avenue, Lower Level
A Chicago legend. And a good place to eavesdrop on the ink-stained wretches that make a living out of other people’s misfortune, also known as newspaper reporters. (Learn more about the Billy Goat when Kelly drops in for a drink in his second novel, due out in 2008.)

4. Hopleaf Bar, 5148 North Clark Street
Beer in three hundred different flavors. Need we say more?

5. Coq D’Or inside the Drake Hotel, 140 East Walton Place
Old school Chicago. Order an Executive Martini, made with eight ice cubes and poured from a brandy snifter. Then find yourself a cab home.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Harvey's debut delivers a fast-paced thrill ride through Chicago's seedy underbelly, where the lines between cops and criminals become dangerously blurred. When his old partner asks for help with an old rape case, Michael Kelly, former Chicago detective turned PI, finds himself in the middle of a massive coverup with links to a notorious serial killer on death row. With the help of his childhood friend, DNA analyst Nicole Andrews, feisty and sexy TV reporter Diane Lindsay and a handful of cops he hopes he can trust, Kelly must solve the original rape case while staying alive as the men who killed to keep a secret set their sights on him. Harvey, the cocreator and executive producer of A&E's Cold Case Files, spins a twisted story that masterfully combines the sardonic wit of Chandler with the gritty violence of Lehane's Kenzie and Gennaro series. Bringing Chicago to life so skillfully that the reader can almost hear the El train in the distance, Harvey is poised to take the crime-writing world by storm. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (August 21, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307266869
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307266866
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,253,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Harvey is the author of two crime novels, The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor. His third book, The Third Rail, will be published by Knopf (USA) and Bloomsbury (UK) in April 2010. Michael is also a journalist and documentary producer. His work has won numerous national and international awards, including multiple CableACE and Emmy awards, as well as an Academy Award nomination. He is also the co-creator, producer and executive producer of Cold Case Files on the A&E television network. For more information, check out Michael's web site at or his Fan Page on Facebook.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Cataldi on September 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an entertaining, good book, but the buzz and reviews around it overstate the case a bit. I wouldn't call it great, or classic.

The plot is fairly formulaic, and not just in the sense that it follows the classic 'hard boiled' narrative structure. Readers of fiction in the genre will find that it holds few surprises(Raymond Chandler meets CSI meets David Mamet?). I found the characters to be derivative... for example the ex cop private eye who was wronged AND has a dark secret AND "boxed for money" AND reads the classics. (Marlowe meets Spenser meets Sam Spade meets Poirot?)

The "sense of place" that several reviewers have mentioned positively felt more gimmicky than novel. The setting and the story don't really seem interdependent. The book could have easily been called the Philadelphia Way, the Boston Way, the Brooklyn Way, etc, by changing a few pages of text. By contrast, novels like James Ellroy's "LA Quartet" really couldn't have been sent anywhere else.

I finished the book not really caring about the characters; and possessed of an intense desire to re-read some of the source material.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on August 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Chicago PI Michael Kelly is sitting in his office, attempting to compile a list of the ten greatest moments in Cubs history, when his ex-partner, John Gibbons, walks through the door. After exchanging pleasantries with Kelly, Gibbons gets down to business---he's come to hire Kelly to look into a case that's haunted the retired police officer for nearly a decade, the rape of a young woman that he maintains was covered up by his superiors. Intrigued by Gibbons' story, Kelly agrees to take the case.

Hours later, Gibbons is found dead by the Navy Pier, shot twice in the stomach. Now a person of interest in the Gibbons homicide, Kelly has added incentive to solve the case the dead man hired him to investigate. Kelly throws himself into the investigation, but answers are elusive--to bring Gibbons' killer to justice, Kelly must dig deep into the mystery surrounding the assault of a young girl named Elaine Remington, a cold case neither the killer nor the police are interested in reopening.

How much you ultimately enjoy The Chicago Way will depend on your expectations going in. If you're looking for something new and original, this may not be your book. If you're looking for a prime example of a hard boiled crime novel, by all means pick this up--Harvey certainly knows his way around that turf, carefully exploring and exploiting all the traditions of that genre through well-crafted, vigorous prose. The PI is tough and intrepid and witty, the dames slinky and dangerous, and the bad guys are menacing--if you enjoy that sort of thing, then The Chicago Way is definitely right up your (back) alley.
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41 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on September 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
THE CHICAGO WAY has been so heavily hyped that I was expecting a crime novel as good as Raymond Chandler's work or even early Robert Parker. But in my opinion, this doesn't even come close.

Michael Harvey's a stylish writer, and writes in a clean style that I normally admire in a crime author. However, this book focuses on snappy dialogue at the expense of everything else. The plot is formulaic, and meanders around quite a bit before rushing toward a rather implausible conclusion. Many of the characters lack depth, and I didn't end up caring for anybody in this novel very much.

In short, THE CHICAGO WAY consists of a lot of sizzle, but not very much steak. The prose is punchy and fun, but that's not a substitute for strong storytelling. This novel never engaged me in the end, so I can't recommend it. Still, I think Harvey has enough talent that I would be willing to give his next book a try.

If you're looking for a good PI mystery, I would suggest two other recent titles: LITTLE GIRL LOST by Richard Aleas and BIG CITY, BAD BLOOD by Sean Chercover. Both these novels are very well written, but have much stronger plots and characters.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
If you're looking for a reasonably entertaining and utterly disposable modern crime novel, this should suffice. As the debut novel from the co-creator of the TV show "Cold Case Files," it should come as no surprise that the Chicago-set story is sparked by the reinvestigation of a buried old crime, and that advances in forensic science play a large role in the plot. The tone is neo-hard boiled, with the author striving for the stylish patter of Raymond Chandler, and generally sounding forced. What might work in the mouth of Bogart generally sounds contrived in the mouth of Michael Kelly, the book's Irish-American ex-cop protagonist.

Kelly is a pretty blah hero, a cardboard collage of hundreds of other fictional private-eyes: Ex-cop? Check. Best detective on the force? Check. Railroaded out of the force? Check. A manly man? Check. Grew up tough? Check. Irish-American or Italian-American? Check. Knows how to box? Check. No apparent good friends? Check. Attractive ladies all over him? Check. Random cultural quick? Check (he likes to read ancient Greek). And so on. There's nothing to really distinguish him from hundreds of his fictional fellow detectives, and nothing about him is likely to linger in the reader's head once the final page is turned. (Except maybe that he drinks tea.)

The story kicks off with a surprise visit from Kelly's old partner (also retired from the force), who is looking into an old unsolved case of his. Only the rape and stabbing isn't just unsolved, it's been erased, and the victim has come back years later wanting to know why. This is a reasonably interesting premise with one major flaw -- the perp has to either be someone relatively powerful, or connected to someone with the access and juice to sweep a major crime completely under the rug.
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