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The Fifth Floor by Michael Harvey

The Fifth Floor

by Michael Harvey

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A murder in contemporary Chicago and winds its way back to Mrs. O-Leary-s cow and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. When PI Michael Kelly is hired by an ex-flame to tail her abusive husband, he expects trouble of a domestic rather than a historical nature. Life, however, is not so simple. The tail leads Kelly to an old house on Chicago-s North Side. Inside it, the private investigator finds a body and, perhaps, the answer to one of Chicago-s most enduring... ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 27, 2015 |
This was a fast-paced reading about a private detective in Chicago. When he is hired from an old girlfriend he is stumbling across scheming in politic but also within the police. He has not only to solve the puzzle but also to keep himself out of all those feuds. His work is like a balancing act on a high wire with one foot always in the abyss.
It was a gripping reading. ( )
  Ameise1 | Sep 15, 2014 |
The backstory: After devouring Michael Harvey's first mystery featuring ex-cop turned private investigator Michael Kelly in a day, The Chicago Way, I immediately picked up The Fifth Floor, the second in the series.

The basics: The titular fifth floor refers to the location of the Chicago mayor's office, a sure sign Harvey is once again tackling a story of political intrigue. When an old girlfriend asks Michael Kelly to track her husband, who works for the mayor, Kelly doesn't anticipate discovering a dead body while he does so. Soon he finds himself solving multiple mysteries, including this murder, stretching from the Chicago fire of 1871 to the present.

My thoughts: Rarely do I like to read two of an author's books back to back, let alone two in a series without a break, but before I had even finished The Chicago Way, I'd requested the other three titles in the series from the library. One of the things I love most about Michael Harvey's writing is the way he makes things that should be preposterous seem normal. He captures the essence of Chicago beautifully, both its treasures and its embarrassments. This novel beautifully explores the history of Chicago's fire, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This review is intentionally short on details because Harvey's books are best enjoyed knowing little when you begin. Know this: if you like mysteries, drop what you're doing and go get your hands on copies of The Chicago Way and The Fifth Floor--you'll want to start this one as soon as you finish the first one too.

The verdict: Harvey seamlessly combines a rich portrait of Chicago's history with contemporary drama. The result is a densely and richly plotted contemporary mystery that is even better than The Chicago Way. ( )
1 vote nomadreader | Jul 5, 2013 |
My second read by Michael Harvey, and his second book. I liked his early 1940-50's style of mystery and spare use of language so gave him another try and he is consistent. Again he deals with corruption in politics and the police in Chicago, this time with the origin of the Chicago Fire as the triggering point. ( )
1 vote CarterPJ | May 25, 2013 |
Private investigator Michael Kelly is following an abusive husband of an ex-girlfriend, who works for the mayor, and discovers a dead body. A little humor, some Chicago politics, unexpected behavior from Kelly and a diverse cast of characters combine to make this an entertaining book. The ending was a bit unbelievable but I’d still like to read more by this author. ( )
1 vote gaylebutz | Oct 13, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0307266877, Hardcover)

Michael Harvey’s sizzling follow-up to The Chicago Way (“A wonderful first novel . . . Harvey has studied the masters and put his own unique touch on the crime novel . . . Heralds the arrival of a major new voice” —Michael Connelly) opens with a murder in contemporary Chicago and winds its way back to Mrs. O’Leary’s cow and the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

Private investigator Michael Kelly, the Windy City’s answer to Philip Marlowe, is back in another page-turner that revives a tantalizing mystery buried in Chicago’s past. When Kelly is hired by an old girlfriend to tail her abusive husband, he expects trouble of a domestic rather than a historical nature. Life, however, is not so simple. The trail leads Kelly to an old house on Chicago’s North Side. Inside it, he finds a body, and perhaps the answer to one of Chicago’s most enduring mysteries: who started the Great Chicago Fire and why. The ensuing investigation takes Kelly to places he’d rather not go: specifically, City Hall’s fabled fifth floor, where the mayor is feeling the heat. Kelly becomes embroiled in a scam that stretches from current politics back to the night Chicago burned to the ground, and along the way, he finds himself framed for murder, before finally facing a killer bent on rewriting history.

The Fifth Floor
is fast-stepping, intricately woven suspense, rich with the lore and atmosphere of a great city. A marvelous successor to Harvey’s critically acclaimed debut.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:20 -0400)

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Hired by a former lover to follow her husband, private detective Michael Kelly tracks the subject to Chicago's North Side, where he discovers a body and a possible answer to the mystery of who started the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

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