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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0892967382, Hardcover)More than two decades after his introduction in Motor City Blue, Amos Walker is still the same cynical, computer-illiterate, lone-wolf Detroit private eye he always was. He hasn't even bothered to update his hard-boiled patter. "I got out of the robe and into the shower," Walker explains partway through Sinister Heights, "scraped off the Cro-Magnon growth of the night, put on a fresh suit from the cleaners, and drove to the office, where I sat around making a good impression on the walls until the telephone rang at ten."
However, it's the pairing of unreconstructed gumshoe with modern malevolence that makes Loren Estleman's stories interesting. In Sinister Heights, Walker is hired by the fetching young widow of powerful auto maker Leland Stutch. She wants him to locate her hubby's illegitimate offspring so she can share with them her inheritance--and thereby avoid future lawsuits. But the would-be heirs have troubles beyond the monetary. Stutch's granddaughter is on the run from an abusive spouse, and Walker's efforts to help her only lead to her son's kidnapping, the violent death of one of the PI's oldest women friends, a cinematic assault (by 18-wheeler trucks) on a suburban car factory, and a surprise Stutch progeny who hopes to capture all of the late magnate's millions.
Estleman's cops and politicians are caricatures, and he doesn't give his protagonist much emotional complexity (though Walker does bare a bit of beating heart in this book's fine closing sequence). But he makes up for these faults with his polished plot, a talent for fleshing out characters with a minimum of words, and a robust nostalgia for Detroit's heyday that almost makes you think fondly of belching smokestacks. --J. Kingston Pierce
(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:57 -0400)
"Walker came to Iroquois Heights to meet a very rich old lady. He left with the image of a beauty in boxing gloves etched in his mind - and a roughing-up from the Iroquois Heights police for driving without a license-plate light. Mrs. Rayellen Stutch, the young widow of one of Detroit's most powerful industrialists, had given Walker a little job to do. Wanting to unload part of her enormous inheritance on the illegitimate offspring of her late husband, she needed Walker to find them. And show them the money." "It's a simple case...until Walker discovers the would-be millionaires are the textbook dysfunctional family. The battered wife is on the run, the abusive husband is packing a gun and a little remorse, and the kid is caught in between. Walker knows the right places to look for a missing woman and child, but he couldn't expect what comes next: an act of horrifying violence that leaves a beautiful woman dead and a boy kidnapped." "For Walker, what started as an errand of mercy quickly turns into a dirty little war. With at least some members of the Stutch family lined up on the other side, Walker now must lay siege to the rusty, sprawling fortress that is the Stutch Motors factory. Somewhere in the building the stage is set for a bloody payoff. And trapped in the middle is a private eye who can remember when cars had fins - and a city had a dream."--BOOK JACKET.
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