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The Fifth Floor: A Michael Kelley Novel by [Harvey, Michael]
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The Fifth Floor: A Michael Kelley Novel Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 42 customer reviews

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Length: 284 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Harvey's superb second thriller to feature PI Michael Kelly (after 2007's The Chicago Way) has the ex-Chicago cop taking on what he thinks is a simple domestic violence case. But when he tails Johnny Woods, a fixer for the city's powerful mayor, to what turns out to be a grisly murder scene, Kelly realizes he's stumbled onto a scandal that began with the great Chicago Fire of 1871. Digging deeper, Kelly unearths what was once considered an urban legend: two of Chicago's most eminent families conspiring to eradicate Irish immigrants by burning down the city's slums. As more bodies pile up and he becomes romantically involved with a judge with secrets of her own, Kelly vows to expose the conspiracy, even if that means putting himself on the wrong side of the city's most powerful men. Harvey's plot twists in all the right places, and his noir-inspired dialogue crackles without sounding showy. Marlowe and Spade would readily welcome Michael Kelly into their fold. 4-city author tour. (Aug.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Did the great-great-grandfather of the present mayor of Chicago and the owner-editor of the Chicago Tribune conspire in a land swindle that led to the Great Chicago Fire? That’s the nub of this first-rate follow-up to Harvey’s much-praised debut novel, The Chicago Way (2007 ). PI Michael Kelly stumbles onto the question while investigating a political fixer for current mayor John J. Wilson, a distinctly Daleyesque, semienlightened despot who rules Chicago with a sometimes heavy hand. The mayor and his bare-knuckles politicos seem abnormally interested in the theory, and their interest compels Kelly to pursue the case, putting him and people he cares about at risk. The Fifth Floor offers a fresh take on the classic American private-eye novel. Reading it feels like putting on a favorite old sweater on a nasty Chicago November day, and it recalls Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald at the top of their form. Harvey makes Chicago and its politics a primary character, and the picture he paints is knowing and shrewd. Hizzoner is a scary wielder of raw political power but also a man determined to make the city a better place to live. Like Chicago itself, The Fifth Floor is edgy but intoxicating, and Harvey seems ready to join Sara Paretsky at the top of the city’s crime-fiction A-list. --Thomas Gaughan

Product Details

  • File Size: 733 KB
  • Print Length: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard; 1 edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Publication Date: August 26, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001E70RWE
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,164 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a lot of mysteries but not a lot of them involve private eyes. I mention this up front because I don't have a lot of basis for comparison but, even so, I absolutely loved Michael Harvey's The Fifth Floor.

It's a tough guy kind of mystery but filled with sights and sounds of Chicago, my home area my entire life, so, not surprisingly, I loved it.

As a history buff and a fan of disaster books, it does not hurt that the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 figures prominently into this storyline, as does what was formerly called the Chicago Historical Society (now the Chicago History Museum), one of my favorite places to visit in the city.

Looking forward to more from this author.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Harvey's second fictional thriller, The Fifth Floor staring former cop turned Private Investigator Michael Kelly is set in Chicago in 2008.

Kelly's former girl friend Janet is married to her second husband, Johnny "the fixer" Woods--a wife beater--working at the City Hall/Cook County Building for "The Fifth Floor" office of Chicago Mayor John J. Wilson.

Janet hires Mike to investigate and document her husband abuse. It had reached a stage where Johnny's 14 year old step-daughter, wants Kelly to kill him.

Michael Kelly understands abuse having grown up with a cowardly drunken father who beat him and his older brother, Phillip daily until they grew up. Like Taylor, he would have like to see his father dead.

Observing Woods enter and quickly leave the Bellinger Cottage at 2121 North Hudson with his face white from fear, Kelly enters the building and discovers the dead body of amateur historian, 75-year-old Allen Bryant, great-great-grandson of the home's original occupant, police officer, Richard Bellinger, who saved the building from the Chicago Fire in October of 1871.

From that point on the story takes the reader on a roller coaster ride full of twists and turns through the origins of "a gang of thieves, also known as Chicago's founding fathers," dirty tricks, patronage politics, graft and murder.

The author spends a great deal of time presenting a variety of alternative theories to O'Leary's cow as the cause of the Great Chicago fire.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I lived ...not IN Chicago...but in a Western suburb. Reading this book with Chicago places and names is frankly like a sentimental trip home. The power coming from the fifth floor was real and not to be underestimated. Trips into the city let you know that things were run differently there. If you weren't sure as what to say, say nothing. And no, you didn't see anything either.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have read all the Michael Harvey books and will jump into the next one when published. His main character, Michael Kelley a former cop turned private investigator becomes involved in another thriller, which in some ways is a continuation of his last adventure. As always, the characters are well defined and familiar to us from previous novels. His detective friend, the Richard Daley type mayor of Chicago, and the on and off girlfriend (a judge) add to the entertaining read. Michael Harvey's style reminds me a lot of Mickey Spillane at the top of his game. The books are hard hitting, fast paced, and a touch grim. Looking forward to the next Harvey novel.
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Format: Hardcover
With his second novel, "The Fifth Floor", following last year's "The Chicago Way", Michael Harvey has cemented his position as one of my "must read" authors in the urban noir genre. His style is infectious and spell-binding. His prose flows like a movie screen play and his sense of pacing and plotting is unassailable. As I said in my previous review of his work, his ability to paint vivid word pictures, especially of Chicago and its environs, makes me feel I have been there (which I haven't) and that I would recognize it when I someday see it.

This time around, Michael Kelly, former cop and current PI, is engaged in a domestic case involving an old girl friend who is being abused by her husband, Johnny Woods, a "fixer" for the mayor whose offices are located on "The Fifth Floor". After tailing Woods to a house where he discovers a homicide, Kelly soon discovers that a simple domestic violence case has morphed into a murder case that may involve a conspiracy of greed and power that can be traced all the way back to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Kelly's investigation soon leads to more bodies, more crimes, the greed and corruption of the Chicago mayor's office, and even an impending mayoral election. Kelly works with local character types that are well fashioned by his spot-on characterizations, such as Fred Jacobs, a pulitizer prize winning columnist, Vince Rodriquez and Dan Masters, police colleagues who use Kelly as a stalking horse to investigate the mayor's office, and an assortment of street characters, bartenders, and cab drivers. His dialogue is lively, believable, and never out of sync.

Kelly is a gumshoe clearly in a class with the Marlowe/Spade protagonists of old. He misses few clues and can make prophetic analytical leaps in his investigations.
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