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City Primeval: High Noon in Detroit Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2002
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From the Back Cover
Clement Mansell knows how easy it is to get away with murder. The seriously crazed killer is already back on the Detroit streets -- thanks to some nifty courtroom moves by his crafty looker of a lawyer -- and he's feeling invincible enough to execute a crooked Motown judge on a whim. Homicide Detective Raymond Cruz thinks the "Oklahoma Wildman" crossed the line long before this latest outrage, and he's determined to see that the hayseed psycho does not slip through the legal system's loopholes a second time. But that means a good cop is going to have to play somewhat fast and loose with the rules -- in order to maneuver Mansell into a wild Midwest showdown that he won't be walking away from.
About the Author
Elmore Leonard wrote more than forty books during his long career, including the bestsellers Raylan, Tishomingo Blues, Be Cool, Get Shorty, and Rum Punch, as well as the acclaimed collection When the Women Come Out to Dance, which was a New York Times Notable Book. Many of his books have been made into movies, including Get Shorty and Out of Sight. The short story "Fire in the Hole," and three books, including Raylan, were the basis for the FX hit show Justified. Leonard received the Lifetime Achievement Award from PEN USA and the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He died in 2013.
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Top customer reviews
Cruz is well developed and the scene where he is being interviewed is so believable it makes you cringe and yet laugh too. Every guy who has been accused of not being sensitive or open and communicative by their wife or girlfriend will recognize it in a minute. The bad guy from Oklahoma is spot on a perfect character developed to the extreme. The opening chapters should be used in every writer's workshop in the USA.-It grabs you with real characters and real true to life scenes.Cruz was introduced before Raylan but they both are very similar. I think Leonard used attributes that Cruz had and carried them over to create Raylan Givens. Cruz was too good of a character to kill off altogether so voila he created Raylan Givens. The dialouge is perfect and the story moves right along. Loved this book. Others that you should read are Split Images, 52 pick up and Swag. All have great characters and stories-but City Primeval is the best ever. Anyone aspiring to be a writer should read this book and especially the opening 2 chapters.
I think the subtitle of this book, “High Noon In Detroit,” may be slightly misleading, because in High Noon,” Gary Cooper had to stand up against Miller and his gang after everybody else in the town basically chickened out, and that’s not really the case here. It IS personal between Cruz and Mansell – oh, yeah – but that’s because of who they are; the civilian population of Detroit is largely irrelevant. (That’s not to say there isn’t a strong element of “High Noon” in the book – there absolutely is, in terms of the personal confrontation between two men – just that in terms of the plot, it’s not a recapitulation of the classic western.)
Get it, read it, enjoy!!
With the success of Justified on tv I expect many are just discovering Leonard. I am envious as you have a plethora of books to choose from and they will all be new to you. Enjoy them all as much as those of us who have known for years that he has never written a bad one.
The story begins with Mansell's killing a corrupt, highly unpopular local judge. Unfortunately, the gun which he uses is the same gun attached to some earlier murders. Clement instructs his girl friend to dispose of it, but the ditz--Sandy Stanton--hands it off to another lowlife for safe keeping, a decision that will come back to bite Clement in the posterior.
If EL's crime fiction can be superficially divided into the comic (Get Shorty, e.g.) and the serious (Killshot, e.g.), this is more serious, though Sandy is a character who could inhabit either of EL's universes.
The plot is complex but not unnecessarily convoluted and we have a host of interesting side characters, including some very tough Albanians (who Clement keeps describing as undertakers, because of their black suits). The dialogue is excellent if not yet the exquisite instrument that it will become. There are still some lovely one liners, nonce words and laugh-out-loud sentences, blissfully free of adverbs.
We read EL because he is a master of crime fiction and, quite simply, a master of fiction. He should be treated as a major figure in American letters. He was clearly influenced by Hemingway, as was a whole generation and beyond, but his total output, the variety within that output (he is a great writer of westerns), his stunning percentage of movie sales, many of which resulted in good films, put him among the principal writers of the American pantheon. R.I.P. and thanks for the legacy.
For an excellent example of the master at the beginning of his crime writing career, City Primeval is superb.