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City for Ransom Mass Market Paperback – December 27, 2005
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Books with Buzz
"Killers of the Flower Moon" is a twisting, haunting true-life murder mystery about one of the most monstrous crimes in American history. See 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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Inspector Alastair Ransom is given the case. Alastair would have an easier time of it if the chief had not told him to work with Dr. James Phineas Towes. Alastair simply does not believe that James can read victims' last minutes by the contours of their scalps. Alastair's partner, Griffin Drimmer, is more open minded though. One thing is for sure, the trio best get busy, because Alastair is on the killer's list.
**** I do not read many mysteries that are set in the past. I am happy that I took a chance on this one though. An intense story focusing on how different investigations were dealt with back in the 1890's. There are even a couple of chuckles waiting for you during Alastair's more frustrating moments. Mystery fans will LOVE this one. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews.
Inspector Alastair Ransom is burdened by his own past and haunted by his own demons. Still, he is determined to solve these crimes and becomes even more determined when he realizes that the killer is moving closer to him and those he cares about.
While this novel is uneven in parts, it blends some interesting characters with grittily depicted action. Ransom himself combines the strengths, flaws and angst of some of the best and most interesting detectives. I worked out who the killer was sometime before the end of the novel but by then the tension was well established and the question was when the killer would be caught.
This is the first book to feature Alistair Ransom, and I'll be seeking out the sequels as opportunity permits. A good rainy day read.
Give it a pass, don't waste your time on this novel.
Do yourself a favor and read City for Ransom. It's my favorite book of the year, thus far. Just make sure all your windows and doors are locked before turning to the first page.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was so distracted by the anachronistic dialog and ridiculous...Read more