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City for Ransom Mass Market Paperback – December 27, 2005
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
Read the absorbing new psychological suspense thriller from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Marisha Pessl. Learn more
About the Author
Robert W. Walker, a graduate of Northwestern University, is the author of thirty-six novels, including the acclaimed PSI Blue featuring FBI Psychic Rae Hiyakawa, the Instinct Series with FBI Medical Examiner Dr. Jessica Coran, and the Edge Series featuring Texas Cherokee Detective Lucas Stonecoat and psychiatrist Meredyth Sanger. He has also recently published the serialized thriller set in India entitled Fleshwar on Amazon.com\shorts. Robert was born in Corinth, Mississippi; grew up in Chicago, Illinois; and currently resides in Chicago and Charleston, West Virginia. In between teaching, lecturing, and book touring, Rob is busy tackling his next two novels, City of the Absent and Deja Blue.
Top customer reviews
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Have begun reading the follow up to this book "Shadows in the White City".
I'll tell you what: Chicago of 1893 in Robert W. Walker's CITY FOR RANSOM, which takes you back in time as surely as any H.G. Wells time machine, back to a city that's the most important character in this superb, dark, skillful, hypnotic work. Calling it a mystery, or crime noir, or thriller, or work of suspense or horror would be short-changing this masterful creation. Yes, it's a gripping dark suspense filled story but always, always, it's Chicago that marches proudly through these pages, breathing life into them as only a master like Rob Walker can accomplish.
I won't review the story, the plot, or the marvellous characters. I'll leave that to other reviewers. I'm just glad that Rob Walker chose Chicago for this new series. If you know Chicago, read this. If you don't know Chicago, then you must read it to understand and share my passion.
The book is full of historical tidbits including 19th century forensic/criminal investigation techniques, Chicago geography, personalities and politics of the time, and goings on around the fair itself. (I'll leave it to others to point out specific errors but I noted a few.) The book has a cast of potentially interesting characters, (some fictional and some historical), including a police chief of questionable intelligence/morals, the junior cops working the case with our haunted protagonist, a police photographer with artistic aspirations, a medical doctor/coroner ahead of his time and a phrenologist called in to assist "scientifically" in the case. Unfortunately the connections that tie all these characters together defy belief.
On top of all this, the story line/plot lurches in fits and starts, jumping from the past and present (1893 present) with scene transitions reminiscent of old Batman episodes, "Meanwhile back at ...", clumsy dialog - characters finish each other's sentences, talk out loud to themselves and get up on soapboxes to rant on a variety of topics, (womens' rights, the justice system, the future of scientific endeavors and the cruelty of life in general), seemingly at the drop of a hat. Just to add to the confusion, 20th Century vernacular is sprinkled throughout, which is somewhat jarring.
This all adds up to a fairly disappointing read - at least to this reader - and I don't see myself actively seeking out other books by this author.
However, Alastair gives James his do as the lad refuses to back off though he is treated as a nuisance by the cop; Alastair's junior partner Griffin Drimmer is nicer to the eager youngster. As the sleuth diligently works the case to stop a serial killer from murdering again, James observes his methods trying to learn the new science of criminology from the master.
CITY FOR RANSOM is a terrific late nineteenth century police procedural that uses the investigation to provide insight into life in Chicago during the Gay 90s. Key elements make the who-done-it intriguing but what comes alive from these components are insights into a bygone era such as the early days of the science of criminology, the role of women during an investigation, and looking back at an earlier relatively recent (in terms of the setting) real tragedy. With a strong cast especially Ransom and Phineas-Tewses and a neat twist involving the latter; Robert W. Walker is at his lofty best with this terrific historical mystery.
Most recent customer reviews
I was so distracted by the anachronistic dialog and ridiculous...Read more