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High Chicago (2009)

by Howard Shrier

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3814532,802 (3.77)10
Jonah Geller is drawn into investigating the apparent suicide of a young girl and the high-stakes world of construction and development on a long-neglected parcel of Toronto's waterfront. Clues lead him to suspect that fabled real estate tycoon Simon Birk - the partner of the dead girl's father - is killing people who get in the way of the project, but the evidence isn't rock solid. And Jonah has to craft an audacious plan to take down one of Chicago's most powerful men.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
In High Chicago, Jonah Geller, who has just started his own detective agency, is hired to investigate why a young woman, the son of a real estate magnate, killed herself by jumping off a Toronto balcony. This requires investigating her father and his business partner, a notorious American developer obviously modelled on Donald Trump--though he isn't Trump, since Trump himself is mentioned in the book more than once. Jonah makes some progress in Chicago, and figures out that it probably wasn't suicide--no surprise there. Then things inevitably take a nasty turn and it is time to call upon the help of restauranteur, but former hitman, Dante Ryan. In this series, Ryan's presence ratchets up the excitement level to at least 11. As usual, there is lots of violence and more than a few people get hurt. The evolution of Geller's character as he continues to deal with his Israeli military experience and the trauma it left him with, while fighting for justice no matter what the cost or the perception of others, is fascinating. Luckily, Geller isn't working alone. Highly, highly recommended. ( )
  datrappert | Jul 1, 2019 |
Private investigator Jonah Geller is asked to look into the apparent suicide of a young woman by her grieving mother, the ex-wife of a real estate developer who has started construction on a sought-after site on Toronto’s waterfront. The developer has partnered with a Trump-like tycoon from Chicago, and Geller’s investigations lead him to search in that city for answers, but not before a couple more mysterious deaths in Toronto occur, deaths that seem somehow linked to the high-stakes world of luxury construction projects…. I initially read a later book in Howard Shrier’s Geller series ("Miss Montreal"), which I found to be too violent for my tastes; "High Chicago" is equally violent, but this time I was prepared for it and managed to discount that aspect of the series. I found Geller and his friends and colleagues to be interesting characters, and certainly the story is very fast-paced and a quick read. The final scene of violence in this particular novel struck me as completely out of character with the rest of the book, though; if Geller’s such a terrific investigator *and* fighter, how could his opponent have surprised him so? Leaving that mistake aside, and keeping in mind the extreme violence, it’s an entertaining enough read, however, so mildly recommended. ( )
  thefirstalicat | Feb 11, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This is the second book featuring PI Jonah Geller. As I received it via the early reviewer feature, I had not read the first one and was initially hesitant. Happily, I did not have difficulty following the storyline or the characters and I enjoyed it enough to want to read the first one. The story itself jumped back and forth, though not to a point that it detracted from a smooth reading. Set in both Toronto and Chicago, Jonah Geller's character spent a little more time than I would have liked reminding us he was Canadian (and Torontonian) with all that entails. I'm a proud Canadian but it was a little much... A good read; borrow it from your local library! Recommended for fans of mysteries that are not overly demanding of their books. ( )
  victoria_beach | Dec 10, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The second book in the Jonah Geller series repeats most of the things that made the first book a pleasure to read: crisp dialogue, unusual scenery for your typical PI novel (Buffalo, Toronto, Chicago), interesting bad guys. The resolution of both books was not typical, however -- without spoiling the endings, I'll just say that the protagonist was placed in a bind that was resolved through morally ambiguous means. I love it when that kind of thing happens. ( )
  EdKupfer | Dec 9, 2009 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Based on the cover and blurbs I likely wouldn't have bought it in a bookstore, but I might have taken it out from the library. Maybe. So I am very glad to have received this through the Early Reviewer program. Shrier can write! P.I Jonah Geller is well conceived and has enough depth that I want to find out more about him. Some of the supporting cast seem to be flat, particularly Dante who is a caricature of a mobster restaurateur and retired hitman. Shrier acknowledges this by having Dante complain about being stereotyped - so I expect better things in the future.

High Chicago is exactly what a mystery thriller should be. It is fast paced, exciting and kept me reading until I reached the end. This was a two sitting book. There is a nice little cameo appearance by a native high steel worker that is a scene stealer, and the humour reminded me of Thomas King. The plot has few sneaky little twists, but the big reveal at the end was a little forced, and not quite the surprise it could have been.

Unlike a previous reviewer I didn't find the Toronto setting overdone - and most of the action takes place in Chicago as the title suggests. It was nice to have a bit of Canadiana thrown in.

Over all this is a solid beach or bathtub read; not too serious, not too intellectual, but clever and entertaining. Like previous reviewers I will definitely have my eye out for more from Howard Shrier! A welcome addition to the noir genre. ( )
  rosses | Dec 2, 2009 |
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Jonah Geller is drawn into investigating the apparent suicide of a young girl and the high-stakes world of construction and development on a long-neglected parcel of Toronto's waterfront. Clues lead him to suspect that fabled real estate tycoon Simon Birk - the partner of the dead girl's father - is killing people who get in the way of the project, but the evidence isn't rock solid. And Jonah has to craft an audacious plan to take down one of Chicago's most powerful men.

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