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Infernal Angels: An Amos Walker Novel (Amos Walker Novels) Paperback – July 2, 2013
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“Estleman proves conclusively that there's plenty of life left in the contemporary hard-boiled subgenre.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Left-Handed Dollar
“The latest Walker novel features all the selling points that have made the series a touchstone for fans of hard-boiled crime fiction: irrepressible tough-guy dialogue, great plotting, vibrant Detroit milieu, and a hero who has whiskey on his breath and nicotine stains on his fingers.” ―Booklist on The Left-Handed Dollar
“Estleman's latest intricate and wholly enjoyable yarn is peppered with mob lore, Detroit history, and the ever-present one-liners. It is sure to please fans of urban mysteries as well as classic detective genre devotees. Strongly recommended.” ―Library Journal on The Left-Handed Dollar
“Estleman, one of America's best crime novelists, has produced a well-plotted, hard-boiled tale that's rife with mayhem and murder.” ―Lansing State Journal on The Left-Handed Dollar
“Estleman delivers some outstanding stuff on the hazards of the profession, including a bone-chilling stakeout on a lonely lake in the dead of night, that could come only from an old pro.” ―The New York Times Book Review on American Detective
“Estleman turns Amos Walker loose in a plot and it's pure private eye all the way. In a great tradition, the gumshoe with an attitude. No one does it better.” ―Elmore Leonard, bestselling author of Get Shorty on American Detective
“Loren D. Estleman is one of a handful of candidates for the title of true heir to Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald. He is a great 'American Detective' writer.” ―Max Allan Collins, bestselling author of Road to Perdition on American Detective
“Estleman's prose is as gritty and compelling as ever as he lets fly razor-sharp dialogue, brings the Motor City to life and combines a whodunit plot with traditional noir action.” ―Publishers Weekly (starred review) on American Detective
“Normally I'm a voracious plot reader, burning through the pages for the action, but here, though the plot is nicely twisty, I'm more than happy to slow down enough to take in the scenery, colored by Amos' snappy comebacks and observations based on the bigger half of a life lived in other people's problems. Highly recommended.” ―GumshoeReview.com on American Detective
About the Author
LOREN D. ESTLEMAN has written more than sixty novels, including Frames, Gas City, and American Detective. His work has earned him four Shamus Awards, five Spur Awards, and three Western Heritage Awards. He lives in Michigan with his wife, author Deborah Morgan.
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It all starts with a late-night quest for coffee. Walker's out of it and goes to the local Walgreens for some more. A cop friend who's staking out the store gives him a tip on some stolen cable converter boxes, which seems like a quick and easy way for Walker to bring in some money. Little does he know that said boxes will soon involve him with the seedier side of Detroit as well as become a national security issue. It also brings in some old friends. The next time Walker runs out of coffee, he may just go back to bed.
Infernal Angels finds Walker torn in three different directions by representatives of law enforcement, and it's fun watching him interact with all of them, occasionally playing them off of one another. Jurisdiction battles are quite common in police novels, but it's interesting to see one from an outsider's point of view.
As usual, Estelman's dialogue is top-notch. Walker quips his way through danger when the going gets too rough. The interplay between the cops, the Feds, and Walker is also excellent. The best example, though, is the conversations between Walker and the various fences where he begins the investigation of the converter boxes.
The characters in Infernal Angels are just as interesting and quirky as ever too. There's Eugenia Pappas, wife of a now-dead criminal, who appears to be trying to take his business legitimate, though she isn't keeping an eye on the people around her. She thinks she can buy her way into Heaven in other ways than just living a virtuous life.
Bud Lite is a musician under investigation for the murder of his producer in Guam, and he now runs a music store which might also be a front for where those converter boxes may have been taken. All of the characters have their quirks, but none of them are one-dimensional.
Estleman renders the story well, moving from the small potatoes of stolen converter boxes into something else that will put Walker in mortal danger, not to mention causing him some more injuries. Yet there are a few slow spots in the book--not good, since it's a fairly short book to begin with.
One other oddity is the long foot-chase in the middle, which not only slows the book down further but also doesn't make a lot of sense. Walker was shot in the leg a few books ago, still limping and taking Vicodin for the pain (as is mentioned numerous times in Infernal Angels), yet he's able to perform an extended chase on foot with somebody who appears to be really fast?
Even with those minor problems, Infernal Angels is a fun read that will bring joy to any fan of the genre.
Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book © Dave Roy, 2011
Walker is undaunted, and pursues the case with even greater zeal. He is no longer invincible, he admits: "In the pursuit of my profession I'd been shot, beaten, coldcocked, drugged, and threatened with death . . . It would be a good joke on a lot of bad people if it was a heart episode that took me." The title derives from the line, soon after the second body is discovered, that of a man Walker had known for years: "Once you'd made the decision to live on the dark side of the moon, all your friends were infernal angels at best."
His descriptions of several characters are exquisite portraits. Of a detective: "He'd lost flesh from age and the weight of the world, pasting skin to bone like shrink-wrap. His boys were grown and married, one of them was still speaking to him, and his wife, who earned more money than he did working shorter hours, was often away on business. Home for him was just a place to change horses between shifts;" of a colleague: "His face was the same vintage as mine, but he ironed his more often and packed it in ice overnight;" a building caretaker "an ambulatory dandelion gone to seed." The prose is equal parts elegance and street.
There are perfect fleeting references on such eclectic topics as jazz musicians, politics and politicians past and present, and The Snows of Kilimanjaro, as well as little-known facts on historical figures as diverse as Black Bart and Marcus Garvey, and nostalgia for Tigers Stadium.
A fast-paced and consistently witty entry in this terrific series, it is highly recommended.