"You Know Who Killed Me" by award-winning Whitmore Lake author Loren Estleman (Forge books, $24.95) offers another challenging case in the career of tough Detroit private investigator Amos Walker.
In his 24th book, due out , Walker is in rehabilitation after overdosing on alcohol and pain pills. He wants to get back to work, but doesn't have a backlog of cases. He's up in his seedy office when an old friend calls him with a job offer.
Lt. Ray Henty, now in charge of the suburban Iroquois Heights Police Department, is trying to solve the murder of Donald Gates, a computer specialist who monitored the city's traffic light system.
Gates was discovered on New Year's Day, shot to death in his basement. Billboards have gone up around town, with Gates' picture and the message "You Know Who Killed Me."
An anonymous member of the victim's church is offering a $10,000 reward on
the sheriff's tip line for the arrest and conviction of the murderer.
Henty, who's taken over the corruption-riddled Iroquois Heights Police Department, needs help in going through the calls but doesn't have extra staff available.
He hires and deputizes Walker, who has bad memories of working in the city. The diligent private eye eventually eliminates many of the crank calls and starts checking out possible leads.
His investigation leads to a disgruntled former city employee, a Ukrainian mobster who may have had reasons to kill Gates.
Other informants turn out to be useful, including the minister at Gates' church, who offers intriguing insights.
When Walker discovers that he's being followed by a government agent, he devises a clever and memorable confrontation.
Soon the case gets more complicated; deceit runs rampant and related deaths occur. The sardonic private investigator notes "I can't afford to sleepwalk my way through a job with a corpse in the equation. Murder's contagious."
Later, Walker darkly comments "I was getting too old for subterfuge." but that really doesn't slow down his lifestyle.
Estleman is in fine form with his latest Amos Walker entry; strong characterization abounds, the dialogue crackles and the conclusion is unexpected but realistic.
If you haven't read a good old-fashioned, fast-paced, hard-boiled crime novel lately, you're in for a real treat!
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing's Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime
novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
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This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on December 7, 2014.