If you’re trying to escape the summer heat and get away from reality – maybe it’s time to discover Whitmore Lake author Loren D. Estleman.
He’s got two new books out – one is a collection of short stories set in Detroit during World War II while the other covers a decades-long cowboy feud in the Old West.
“Detroit is Our Beat” subtitled “Tales of the Four Horsemen”, (Tyrus Books, $24.95 hb, $16.99 pb) showcases four members of the Racket Squad who work for the understaffed Detroit Police Department while most of its regular officers are off fighting in World War II.
They get into lots of trouble as they try to enforce the law, often getting satisfying and surprising results, even though they may not use traditionally approved methods.
Lieutenant Max Zagreb, Sergeant Starvo Canal and detectives McReary and Burke face significant challenges. They are dubbed “The Four Horsemen” by eager newspaper reporters who are always looking for an intriguing angle.
The characters were introduced in Estleman’s excellent 1998 novel “Jitterbug”; most stories originally appeared in “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.”
Estleman’s anthology is highly atmospheric; he deftly captures the attitudes and flavor of the time with great descriptions and snappy dialogue.
The stories are strongly character driven; the award-winning author has definitely done his research. Estleman includes a detailed list of recommended sources for those interested in useful aspects of related
“The Long High Noon” (Forge, $24.99) is a captivating, enjoyable tale that’s mostly set in the historic Old West.
It explores an exceptionally long, deadly feud between two cowboys, Randy Locke and Frank Farmer, which begins shortly after the Civil War and continues on for decades.
Each gunfighter is trying to kill the other; Locke has a permanent limp as a result of an attempt by Farmer; while Locke shot off part of Farmer’s ear.
The tale is told through shifting viewpoints that include slick western journalists and an entrepreneur setting up one final deadly confrontation.
Estleman’s mesmerizing novel covers a fascinating era of Old West history, from post-Civil War expansion to its unprecedented growth and settlement.
The author is a superb, smooth storyteller; he adroitly combines mythology, fact and fiction with touches of irony and humor thrown in for good measure.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has reviewed crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987.
Find this book and other great titles
at the Curious Book Shop, an independent
book shop in East Lansing, founded in 1969.
Curious Book Shop
307 East Grand River Avenue
East Lansing, Michigan
This review was originally published by the Lansing State Journal on June 28, 2015.